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including increasing the gasoline tax say you have some extra money. >> that is the definition of a no-brainer in terms of constructive policy. gas goes up and down by a large margin every year. if he could cap some of that infrastructure, it would be great. >> infrastructure, and tandem reform, gas tax -- entitlement reform, gas tax. who's in? >> i might be. >> no. >> i'm in. >> i will consider it. f the close of the deficitm,
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i'm in. >> depends on your definition of attach the reforms -- of you get into what those words really mean, and i began to say that is not reform. >> there is nothing in the plan that asks everyone to pay -- there is nothing that ask the wealthy to be part of the solution. >> what we have here is a disagreement as to the basic problem. we are still hearing talk about tax on the wealthy. we just got some tax on the wealthy. it will pay for about a week of running the federal government. if we confiscated everyone's income that make over 250,000 north, it pays for one year of the deficit. i am just saying, if we brought
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it down to what the president wanted to bring it down to. the medicare situation, the social security situation, medicaid, the congressional budget office and everybody taking a look at it basically said it is not sustainable. the trajectory, there is no way around it. it was hit on just a minute ago, when someone said was concern, it cannot do that without taxing the middle class. exactly. if it cannot agree on the nature of the problem, whether it is high income people paying for all of this, and there is really no medicare -- bad trajectory here, it is just other costs and so forth. then what is going to happen is that there is going to be a massive middle-class tax increase. a gasoline tax is one of those options.
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>> a consumption tax. >> a carbon tax. howard dean is always candid. he said everybody needs to pay more tax. >> let's hear what you think about this. gasoline tax is a no-brainer. has not gone up in 20 years. i am going to put this question up for you to ask, what do you think of a gasoline tax, and remember this could happen over time, no increase in gas? 25 cents per gallon? 50 cents per gallon, seven 5 cents per gallon? a dollar a gallon? the money mostly would go directly to repair america's critical infrastructure. while they are boating, senator
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bennett. >> you don't have my number. >> what is your number? 15 cents. >> let's go back just for a moment. i agree, it is really important that we deal with facts and that we deal with common facts. let me tell you about europe, as a business person. there are certain countries in europe, many of which are not in crisis, that are absolutely the last place you would ever put a new job. the reason they are the last place you would put a new job is because the rules are around labor are so stringent and so expensive, that you cannot afford to take a risk. but how else is europe characterized? very rigid labor laws that were designed to protect people. designed with the best motives in mind. second, an extremely high tax regime everywhere.
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third, a very high gasoline tax. fourth, huge entitlements. those are the four things that characterize europe today. it is not growing, unemployment among youth is 25% or higher. the streets are on fire because people now in crisis are trying to cut spending. so why in the u.s. would we decide, raise taxes, at a gasoline tax, not deal with entitlements, and by the way, make our labor issues more rigid than they currently are. why would we not go down that path? [laughter] >> i think you struck a nerve. >> i really mean that, because i am trying to understand. the top 1% of income earners in the country have seen significant -- increase in
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income, and everybody else, their income is squeezed and it is going down. how can we argue that we don't need to balance that out at the top? >> let's take that, ok? why have so many people gotten so well the in the last -- let's call it 5-10 years. investment income. why has investment income gone up? because the stock market today is one of the few investments left because the fed is printing money. yes, you absolutely can tax dividends. you can tax capital gains more, absolutely. got to say something, because you spoke about the basic tenets of european society. the basic one of american society has been a free market to capitalism. then why is your company always
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asking the government for something? [applause] company't believe my asks your government for anything other than we presented a dilemma, and it is a difficult dilemma. i don't appreciate being called cut throat, because people who run companies care deeply about their employees, about their customers, about the communities in which they live and work, and we make agonizing decisions every day as well. but we begin when you have only one place that you can put a plant, it can only put them in one place. the city's come to us. some of those cities say they want your plant so bad, we are willing to do something. some cities happen to be in ireland or spain or brazil. and then, as a business person, i have a choice.
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if i have only one factory to build, and two or three or four people are telling me to build it in their city, what am i going to do? i am going to make the best deal i can, because that is what i am asked to do. >> i can tell you, europe is a big place. when you look at germany right now, high taxes, tight internal regulations. written -- britain. >> i will tell you why germany is doing so much better, it is the euro. germany is an exporting country, and they export to their neighbors.
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it prevents their neighbors from devaluing their currency. >> where is the context for your numbers? i am sure you are not advocating borrowing 40 cents on the dollar. [indiscernible] >> i said they are in a crisis because of decades of certain policies. >> that have put together an unsustainable federation. >> put him back on my washington hat as we move along, one of the most successful theories on our blog has been this is where your money went. people in europe and the united states stand up with signs saying what kind of government money they get, whether it's health care, welfare. the one that went viral was the author of the harry potter books proudly standing with the dole in front of her.
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she and her family were supported by government benefits before she became a billionaire. should we not give everyone a chance? we are going to have more people who can either fall through the cracks or come back and be productive members. getting people to stand up and take pictures of themselves, if you look at those pictures, what you see is america. how do you deal with people who would fall through the cracks without some kind of benefits? >> i am curious that you would level that challenge at me. i think what that implies is you believe that business people, or maybe republicans don't care. if you assume that business people don't care or republicans don't care, there is no possibility of [indiscernible] the issue is what is going to
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work. not who cares more. >> let's bring back the public and see how people felt about that gasoline tax. a quarter in this room probably don't own cars. 33% say 25 cents. 15% say 0. you are the national economic adviser and you've got people saying we've got to do this. this is a good way to do it. senator, you have constituents coming to you saying i may lose my job at this plant. i drive 30 miles each way as it is. i barely get by. are you crazy? what do you say? >> a gasoline tax is not the
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only way to have these and bridges and roads in the country. i think an infrastructure deal can be sold to this person as part of a bigger package. it has to be something that involves a reasonable length of time for a balanced budget goal. i think it could involve tax reform. you keep talking about revenue. the money to be raised now, the real money is something about $16 trillion, is in the middle class. if you want to take them out of it, i think you could do tax reform. you could do a lot of things and simplify and report it without raising the rates on anybody. the new can have some kind of a
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moderate engagement with regard to entitlements. one proposal has been, don't do anything to people over the age of 55. means testing, where the rich will pay a little bit more, but the idea that we can continue the way we are going without touching the benefits that anybody, even those younger than 55, just as not hold water. >> here is what is going to happen. these conversations about the big deal have been contentious. that have stumbled on every political land mine out there. you have debated who's got the money, who should pay the taxes, whether the wealthy have gotten off scot-free, whether you will really get serious about cutting the growth of health care costs, but you have been having the conversation. they have been confidential.
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this blogger is good. she gets word that these conversations are happening. that is remarkable big deal is being kicked around. they might put up taxes and make a big cut out of these entitlements. you get that lead. would you write that story? >> if i could source it, i would write it. but because i am a partisan blogger, i also start a petition. >> what is your headline? >> the polite 14 company -- a polite one one for company? deep doo-doo. >> you hear that she has got this story. she has not written it, but it
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appears she has got it. you know that these conversations have been going on because they have been confidential. what do you have to say? >> i would say our country is in a crisis, and this is the moment to act. american people are ready for the truth. they are ready for solutions and they are ready for leadership. i deeply believe this. i think the evidence does not support our position. it is appealing on the surface, but revenues have to rise. this can be proven empirically. it is the conservative view, as i see it, and expenses have to come down. and people are ready for this. they understand it. the american people are smart. if they will slow down and stop watching some of that game shows and everything else and really look at the substance of what is
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going on here. >> did you ask her not to write her story? >> no, i think it is time to put the facts on the table. we cannot stay on this trajectory. >> here is the news. economic future remains in stalemate. several european banks have warned of liquidity crises, the finance officials plead for calm and will be meeting with the u.s. treasury secretary, who has been dispatched to europe. meanwhile, in the u.s., stocks opened higher. the package would reportedly include a massive program to rebuild and repair the country's aging infrastructure. talks in washington are said to be at a critical point. >> the story is out, mr. chief of staff. governor, what does the
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president say now? >> what the president should say when he sends the secretary of the treasury to europe is ok, there has been enough posturing, and obviously cannot tell our allies what to do, but the problem in europe has been that all we have as solutions is austerity measures, spending cuts. what is needed in europe is a combination of spending cuts and the stimulus program. and the problem has been that germany has taken the lead -- i am not blaming germany, but pat -- that has been the posture of .hancellor merlekel they want to see significant spending cuts. they want to see them in spain and greece. this is what i tell secretary geithner. the time has come, since our economies are connected, for there to be a positive movement
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in the european crisis, but then i think these budget negotiations, which are not based on simply -- based on human beings and republicans and democrats getting together. i think it is very doable and possible. one thing we have ignored at this meeting, there was an election that just happened, and the message of the election, i believe, is guys, women, you've got to get together, or there is going to be a third party. >> that is one of the reasons we have been having these conversations. >> but it is out now. it is on the cable channels, on the radio, online, in print. what happens now? >> i say i want to get on television with some facts. [laughter] here are few that have come out
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of this conversation. 16.9% of gdp, that is not because tax rates went down. it is because the economy went down. tax rates -- there is no revenue. [indiscernible] in the years before the collapse, the income as well over 18% of gdp. >> it has been over 18% twice. two years where the economy was clearly over heated. >> this sounds like the two of you on a cable show. >> my question to you is, what happens when this -- [indiscernible]
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>> when this move into the public realm? >> the problem is driven not by the government but by democrats. we are seeing a massive wealth transfer from workers to retirees, and the retirees are growing as a percentage of the population, while the workers are shrinking as a percentage of the population. that is not sustainable. that is the problem in europe, and you cannot change the demographics. as the birth rate falls and the life expectancy increases. i am with you on immigration. if i had known you were going to do this, i would have the exact numbers. in 2012, social security paid out $770 billion.
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medicare and medicaid paid out $720 billion. we were at war in afghanistan, and the defense department paid out $629 billion. that is what the demographic numbers are doing to us. and we have to recognize that. one last shot. you talk about the rich. ok, i will confess here, personal numbers. i am still working. i am paying $20,000 a year in social security tax. i am drawing $41,000 a year in social security benefits. the minute i stop working, the $40,000 keep coming in, only goes up every year. why does warren buffett, why will oprah winfrey not have to
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draw the same social security benefits from the 1930's? why can we not say go ahead and work and pay in the program, but if you have so many assets, we will shave off the level of your payments. [applause] >> and then the wealthy would be paying more. absolutely. >> my sense is now that this is public and everybody is going on all these talk shows, this conversation is all over the place. >> we need the president. if i have this conversation and it is out there, here is what happens. my friends in organized labor, my friends in the environmental movement, my friends who work on poverty and sustainable
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programs, i need a president in this conversation so he can legitimize it so we can actually come to an agreement. >> tell the chief of staff, the economic adviser and see what you get. >> i need the president to lay out what he believes a balanced approach is. it gives me a way to say i am with the president. i think my colleague needs to do the same thing, and give us all a place to go. >> i agree, the president needs to say what his principles are and where he stands on the plan. i think that is absolutely right. there are some people, i will say, that will say when the
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president takes a position, it hardens the other side. >> i will advise the president that he has to lay out these principles. i would do it at the state of the union. i would do it early, as i said, the first year is key. it is a legacy issue. this is the time when voters remember what happened in the election. this is the time to do immigration reform. >> would you have him take that position -- >> it is not just the congress woman. as democrats, moderate democrats. one of my host is the emergence once again, and i don't want to call these two guys moderates, but the emergence of a moderate republican party. needs to come back. if you look at the major
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environmental, highway legislation under eisenhower, it was always bipartisan, and it was moderate republicans and democrats that got it done. >> on something like this, as i understand the plan, he would have republican support coming out of the woodwork. it would be nixon going to china. these problems are so politically difficult, they would have been solved a long time ago if they were not. neither party can really afford to take the lead because they will be demagogued to death by the other party. it will take presidential leadership and bipartisan congressional leadership to get it done. every group in america, from the
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people who say you have to balance the budget in four months, every group in america, thousands of them will descend on washington. >> and the president is going to deal with it. i have just been given a note that the president is going to take his chief of staff, who is a master negotiator, just came back from north korea, and your mission, governor, should you decide to accept -- and actually, you don't have a choice. the president is dispatching you right now to capitol hill to go and try to negotiate this. and now you have to leave us, but you are leaving us to go to capitol hill. i want to thank you for being here with us this evening, and we will continue the conversation. [applause] governor, if you step off to the left here, you are a chartered flight -- is a long way from
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here to capitol hill. all this is going on. is now public. you have a great position and you are going to take a step to doing what the senators here and others have talked about. you will convene a town hall meeting and you will have bipartisan input. the senators are going to show up and you'll have a great gathering. some people are going to show up with signs saying don't touch my medicare. others will show up and say don't raise my taxes, because i can barely get by as it is. what are your opening remarks? >> we have a great history of getting along. everyone is passionate. everyone has different views, but in the and we do what is best for striver city. the town historian is going to be a little historical look at
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the fact that our country has always been passionate and has always disagreed, and that politics has always been a mess. we just happen to think that it is messier now than it has ever been, but that is just a lack of historical perspective. from the very beginnings, the constitutional convention, you can go to any point in our history and say, how in the world did we reach consensus and move forward? what we are debating today is really nothing new. it is just part of america. it is the best system in the world. while messy, it tends to work out, because people a ultimately do come to agreement. in our town hall meeting, you know what? we are going to leave as friends. it ultimately is going to get results, and that is the history of our country. >> you stand up and make your remarks, and a citizen stands
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and says, i understand you are considering this gasoline tax. if you raise my tax, i will not be able to buy food. i may not be able to buy my medicine because i cannot afford it. tell me now you will back down because this is a terrible idea. >> it is really hard to hear that. i am going to say to the citizen that i understand what you are experiencing and what you believe will happen, but let me explain to you how this is going to be better for the country, and that the jobs it is going to create, rebuilding the bridge that just collapsed, is going to enable you to pay for your medicine, to take care of your family. but unless we make those investments, we will not be able to do anything. >> senator bennett, someone stands and confronts you and says i hear you have been talking to people about putting up the eligibility age for retirement. i have worked all my life on the
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line, physical labor. i am 63 years old and i have terrible back pain. you are going to tell me i cannot get this until i am 67 or 70 years old? i don't have that nice, white collar job that you have. >> i am very sympathetic to that age group. [laughter] >> raising the age is a kind of simplistic approach that people who used to be on cnn talk about. >> i agree. [laughter] >> medicare is the best, frozen in time like a bad woody allen movie. medicare needs to be completely rewritten and around the way we practice medicine today, which
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bears no resemblance whatsoever to the way it was done in the 1960's. in the process of doing that, we can bring the cost of medicare down, not only for medicare but for private insurance that is always following medicare, because that is where most of the money is. >> and we have great bipartisan agreement. >> when medicare was signed into law in 1965, the typical american lived to about 70. today they live until about 78. health-care costs were roughly one-third as a measure of gdp as they are now. >> i am so glad we have so much bipartisan agreement. we can take steps to lower health-care costs. it is true, medicare is a growing part of the federal budget. it is also part -- also true that if we had the same -- it will take $500 billion over the
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next several decades. it endorsed the amount of money -- dwarfs the amount of money. i believe in raising the retirement age because we believe you should retire when you are older. we also believe people are entitled to health care. when you raise medicare, you are actually increasing the cost on business. >> let's just ask the audience, for the sake of argument, let's see where people come in on this medicare issue. some suggest this as one way to go, as a realistic response to the changing demographics, living longer. the question up on your screen, how likely would be to support a big deal at that would include raising the eligibility for medicare?
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while they are voting -- >> you are just talking about medicare, not social security? >> this is just medicare. i think it is about time to bring this story to something of a conclusion. we have no real budget deal in washington. we have seen, tragically, what has happened to our infrastructure in a real crisis. we know the pressure is on business because you do have to make payroll at the end of the day. that is your job. we also know the social implications that all of this has. and this notion of a big deal, of doing something real, not just kicking the can down the road until march, the really fixing it. doing something big. it has gained some traction, at least in these confidential
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conversations. i am not going to tell you how the story ends. you tell me how the story ends. >> we also get another series call this is what i am willing to give up. some were willing to take less in terms of medical coverage. summer willing to give up a certain degree -- for example, a certain degree of reliance on taking care of parks. they say we will do it on a volunteer basis. people are willing to give things up as long as they get things in return. >> how do you think it ends? a great town hall meeting, but
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it was noisy. >> i agree with the mayor. looking back on american history, we have had lots worse problems than this. i had a woman come up to me in the middle of my campaign that said i have never been so frightened. this is the worst crisis america has ever been in. i said, would you like to have lived during the civil war? she had not thought of that. i said what about the beginning of the second world war? there was no guarantee we were going to defeat hitler or that britain was going to survive. it has become a cliche, but it has not been said here tonight, so i will be the one to say. my favorite quote from winston churchill, the americans can always be. -- depended on to do the right thing, after they had exhausted every other possibility.
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the demographics are irreversible and will ultimately drive the right and the left to the reality that we have to make some kind of changes. >> you are our realist. how do you think this ends? >> of course, the honest answer is i don't know. what i worry about, and i really appreciate the reminder of history, because i think is really important, and we forget history too often. what i worry about is the trust deficit. if you look at every institution, business, congress, sports figures, the church -- it doesn't matter what it is. no one trusts the institutions that operate in our country. and congress is not doing so well. >> why does that matter?
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it matters because, for a society to be vibrant and grow and take risks and innovate, we not only need to like each other, we need to trust each other. i would be happy if we did not necessarily get a big deal this year, but what we got was a conversation where people did not call each other names, people did not assume that because we disagree, we care less than someone else, that people set all that aside and say really, honestly, let's trust people to be sincere actors and work towards a solution. >> congressman, how does this end? >> each generation of americans is faced with a series of problems, or one single problem that is seen at the time to be
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insurmountable. this is ours, the fiscal situation. but if we remember that we are first and foremost, and always, americans, and we elevate that and say we set aside a deep sense of partisanship -- if we are delivered about reaching out to others, and we go with the facts, and i think the facts are clear, spending has to come down and revenues have to come up. if we agree upon those facts, and we believe in the american people, we will get through this, and we will meet our obligation for the next generation of americans. i am convinced we will do the right thing in the end. >> how does this end? >> the congressman is elected majority leader of the house. [applause] and we have a balanced plan
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because a large deal, with revenues as part of the deal, and we have entitlement savings. they do exactly what senator bennett argues, which is that it transforms the health-care system. we will go to each of these letters, sequestration, government shutdown, and the elected leaders will devise the smallest deal they can agree on to get through it, and we go to the next one. >> i think there are so many of us who are so tired of dealing in crisis. we just are. i would examine what i am willing to give up.
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i think about things like, could we may be negotiate prescription drug prices so we could bring those costs down? maybe instead of looking at eligibility age, we might be able to consider some others. i cannot say the word. then i would consider a gas tax as long as that was not a tax on the most vulnerable, but then you have to consider things like instead of raising retirement age, maybe we should look at lifting the income cap so we can maintain solvency, and then get the money we need to do the spending. >> and quickly go to this poll. i am just curious what people thought about medicare. how likely would you support a
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big deal that includes raising the eligibility age? like that. -- look at that. >> let me give you the opposite scenario. can we handle a crisis? i think we can. i think we have proven that we can. i think about 9/11. i think about the impeachment that we all went through. there were some bipartisan moments there as to how to proceed. >> i was in the room. we wrote the bill. i was the senior republican when we wrote the bill. there was not a single partisan statement made by either side. >> the problem we are talking about here tonight is not yet
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seen to be a crisis. that is the problem. we are still debating over the basis of the problem, and the reason for the problem. so let me give you, as much as i hope against it and as much as i think we will be up to real crisis when it hits, if we have time, the likely scenario is that we will continue on, we will not come together on anything meaningful in terms of doing anything about our debt, we will continue to be at the mercy of foreign bondholders, we will continue to be at the mercy of the ratings agencies. we will lose not only s&p, we will lose the rest of them. something will happen. europe may get its act together, which means we are no longer the one eyed man in the land of the blind. or maybe we will get our act together a better in some other
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ways. the economy comes up a little bit. either scenario will result in higher interest rates, right? historical low interest rates -- the government is paying about half of the interest they normally have to pay. if we go to historical norms in terms of interest rates, it will wipe out everything we are talking about. then the only thing that is left is raising interest rates in order to control the inflation that by that time would be occurring, and then there'll be a devaluation. that is the likely scenario. >> i would like to come down into the audience and bring you into the conversation. >> i actually know how this ends. [laughter]
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>> i cannot wait. tell us all. >> if this is like any other challenge in american history, we will talk about this, we will work on a proposal, and then something will happen that we are not thinking about now. the birmingham bombings, the sputnik launch, the cuban missile crisis -- that was the most dangerous time the country has been through. the environmental emergencies of the late 1960's. something like that will happen. in the previous 20 years of talking about these things will be a prelude to a fairly quickly making a deal. that is how this will end. >> you are fundamentally an optimist. your recent cover story --
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america rebounds. i want to ask you all to vote on one last question. the question we started with, because we are interested as to whether it your opinions changed a little bit as a result of this conversation here tonight. for those of you who are online and watch it on c-span, we ask the question we started with. if a national crisis our roads, how confident are you that the president and congress could agree on a pro at the plan of action? maybe even a big deal. i want to call on one of our special guests in the audience. frank is the co-chair of the presidential commission on debates. >> of want to thank you for the opportunity. i want to ask you, your whole career, you have been in
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politics or near politics. your mission has been to get this kind of conversation, debate, in front of the american people. what is the moral from tonight's story? >> i think bipartisanship does exist in congress. when they were arguing about what they were going to do to help the cities, they all gathered together, republicans and democrats, to do what was necessary to help their local state. you saw it with sandy. you had republicans and democrats in new york, new jersey, and connecticut, joining together. i am originally from nevada. for 30 years, republicans and democrats in nevada have said they don't want nuclear waste buried in nevada. anything that touches the local state touches the constituents,
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and touches the people who are going to vote for them. when we get to national issues, however, it is different situation. the number out of 233 republicans and house, only 16 of them were elected from districts carried by president obama. up to 200 democrats -- of the 200 democrats, only eight or nine or elected from districts carried by governor romney. that means the greatest danger to these republicans and democrats is in the primaries. what happens if you or a member of congress, you are great concern is to protect yourself in those primaries from people coming at you from the left and right. congresswoman edwards touched on it. there is only one way around this. it takes leadership to provide
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cover in politics, to get people the courage to stand up and do what is right. how do you get there? members of congress -- i have been in this town for 30 years. they don't know each other anymore. they don't spend any time with each other. the reason that lbj was able to get the civil rights act passed, it was the republicans in the senate that passed it. tip o'neill beat the hell out of the president all week long. i think we ought to pass a law paying for only one trip home of month by members of congress. the most dangerous place in this town is on a thursday night at reagan international airport,
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where you get trampled by members of congress running for the plane. there has to be some way, if we bring them back together, the leaders in both houses of both parties have to lead. they have to get some backbone to stand up and solve these problems. that is the only way it is going to happen. [applause] >> the president of the student body of gw, where did he go? guess what, you are next. >> this story in many ways is about you. this is the debt you will inherit. this is the social security that you will or will not get. >> i have always been interested in how policy makers can come together with different ideologies and sit down and have honest talks. when the news cameras are off,
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you don't have to appeal to the high energy members of your party. when the cameras are off is when you get to sit down and get to business and get the work done. >> what are you studying? >> political science. >> what do you want to do? >> be a politician. [laughter] >> how you feel after tonight? >> it's going to be a very long journey. [laughter] >> we wish you luck. the last comment tonight from the bipartisan policy center. your thoughts? tell us what you thought and what your conclusion is. >> a couple of reflections. it is great to have this kind of fusion cabinet discussion with multiple layers of government,
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supporters and political commentators. that does not happen all whole lot. two things occurred to me. the mayor made a great point about how messy this is. the idea of the public getting comfortable with that messiness is going to be another part of the political cover. to have the opportunity to make the uncomfortable agreements that will be necessary. it was not really just a partisan question. the local, state, and federal government positions are critical for this debate. i thought it was terrific how much we've focused on the business community. you were in a tough position, shutting down most factories. the larger question about the role of business in social policy and governing, particularly as congress becomes
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less and less functional. trying to understand that is a large craddick -- a large challenge for all of us. >> from the before and after, whether it made us more or less optimistic. interestingly, people are more optimistic after hearing this conversation. [applause] are you surprised by that? >> no, actually, i am not. i think it is human nature that if you are not talking with somebody face-to-face, it is easier to caricature them, vilify them, say they do not get it. it is lot harder -- maybe she still thinks i am a cutthroat, but the point is solving
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problems takes people working together. that is in it. that is kind of basic, but that's what it takes. i think what people may be solved is folks with very different backgrounds and points of view talking together and trying to solve the problem that is really tough. >> i would like to thank all of you for what i think has been a very honest and a very interesting and informative conversation, for us to get a sense of what the dynamic is. you need leadership. what you believe then and how you engage, and how the conversation might sound and private and what the impact might be in public. if i am not mistaken, you were with grover norquist. >> three or four months ago that was true.
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>> i am troubled by this idea of cover. i cannot wait for five people, the president and leadership in the house and senate, if we are not getting the job done, this is what americans do. you go over, brown, through the proper channels, but i was told not to do this, because politically it would hurt -- to distance myself from the pledge. i made the decision in january and i said to my advisers, i cannot hold on to this and not act on this. they said, can you at least until the primaries? no, the people in the second district need to have a choice. i am convinced that if the american people have the right information, they will make good decisions. i am back for a second term. this gives me the greatest hope, because i told my republican
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friends that rather than have to -- it is pretty clear. i tell my democratic friends that expenses have to come down. the american people get this, and they are ready for leadership. i know we can do this. >> i cannot think of a better note to end this conversation on than that. i would like to ask you if you have not already, we tried to connect the fax to some context, because context matters. as you have seen here, you can have a healthy debate based on the facts, but if you don't start with the facts, the debate by itself is misinformed. thank you very much for joining us. thank you very much, panelists, for traveling here and being so generous with your time. thanks to c-span and to
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huffington post, and to all of you in the room, and thanks again to george washington university for making all of this possible. good night, and good luck. [applause] host: [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] x today in las vegas, president obama push for changes to the immigration laws. his remarks are next on c-span. then we get your reaction and take your calls on the president's speech. later, a discussion on cia interrogation techniques in the
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search for osama bin laden. a look at the news pushed for a change of immigration laws. former commerce secretary carlos gutierrez will be our guest. then paul krugman discusses the economy and his new book. later, our spotlight series continues with robert draper of national geographic on the history of libya and live under former dictator muammar gaddafi. "washington journal is live starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. president obama called on congress to pass a comprehensive immigration bill. speaking in las vegas, he complement the efforts of a bipartisan group of senators announced an immigration reform plan yesterday.
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>> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you. well, it is good to be back in las vegas. [applause] and it is good to be among so many good friends. let me start off by thinking -- hanking everybody at del sol high school for hosting us. [applause] go dragons. let me especially thing your outstanding principal. [applause] there are all kinds of notable guests here but i just want to mention a few. first of all, our outstanding secretary of the department of homeland security, and janet napolitano.
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[applause] our wonderful secretary of the interior ken salazar. [applause] former secretary of labor, hilda solis. [applause] two of the outstanding members of the congressional delegation from nevada, steve and gina. [applause] your own mayor, carolyn goodman. [applause] we also have some mayors who flew in because they know how important issue we are to talk about today is. maria from arizona. qassim from atlanta, georgia. rick from phoenix, arizona. and ashley from fresno, calif.
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[applause] than all of you are here, as well as some of the top labor leaders in the country. we are so grateful. outstanding business leaders are here as well. of course, we have wonderful students here. [applause] those of you have a seat, feel free to take a seat. i do not mind. i love you back. [applause] last week, i had the honor of being sworn in for a second term as president of the united states. [applause] and during my inaugural address, i talked about how making progress on the finding
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challenges of our time does not require us to settle every debate or ignore every different we may have, but it does require us to find common ground and move forward in common purpose. it requires us to act. i know that some issues will be harder to lift than others. some debates will be more contentious. that is to be expected. but the reason i came here today is because of the challenge where the differences are dwindling, where a broad consensus is emerging, and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across america. i am here today because the time has come for common sense comprehensive immigration reform. the time has come. now is the time. [applause]
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now is the time. [applause] now is the time. now is the time. [applause] i am here because most americans agree that it is time to fix the system that has been broken for way too long. i am here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see america
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as the land of opportunity. now is the time to do this, so we can strengthen our economy, and strengthen our country's future. think about it. we define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. that is who we are, in our bones. the promise we see in those that come here from every corner of the globe, that has always been one of our greatest strengths. it keeps our recourse young, a key to our country on the cutting edge, and helped to build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known. after all, immigrants help to start businesses like google, and yahoo!, they created entire new industries that in turn created new jobs and new prosperity. in recent years, one in four
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high-tech start-ups in america were founded by immigrants. one in four new small business owners were immigrants, including right here in nevada. folks who came here seeking opportunity and now want to share that opportunity with other americans. but we all know that today we have an immigration system that is out of date and badly broken. a system that is holding us back, instead of helping us to grow our economy and strengthen our middle-class. right now, we have 11 million undocumented immigrants in america. 11 million men and women from all over the world who live their lives in the shadows. yes, they broke rules, they crossed the border illegally, maybe they overstayed their visas. those are the facts, nobody disputes them. but these 11 million men and women are here. many of them have been here for years. and the overwhelming majority of these individuals are not
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looking for any trouble. they are contributing members of the community. they are looking out for their families, looking out for their neighbors. they are woven into the fabric of our lives. every day, like the rest of us, they go out and try to earn a living. often, they do that in the shadow economy, a place where employers may offer them less than the minimum wage, or make them work overtime without extra pay. and when that happens, it is not just that for them, it is bad for the entire economy. because all the businesses that are trying to do the right thing, hiring people legally, paying a decent wage, following the rules, they are the ones that suffer. they have to compete against companies that are breaking the rules. and the wages and working conditions of american workers are threatened, too.
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so if we are truly committed to strengthening our middle-class and providing more ladders of opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to make it into the middle-class, we have got to fix the system. we have to make sure that every business and every worker in america is playing by the same set of rules. we have to bring the shadow economy into the light so that everyone is held accountable. businesses for who they hire, and immigrants for getting on the right side of the law. that is common sense. that is why we need comprehensive immigration reform. [applause] there is another economic reason why we need reform. it is not just about the folks that come here illegally, having the effect on our economy. it is also about the books that try to come here legally but have a hard time doing so, and the fact that has on our economy.
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right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. they are earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. but once they finish school, once they're in that diploma, there is a good chance they will have to leave our country. think about that. intel was starting with the help of an immigrant who studied here and stayed here. histogram the starting with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. right now in one of those classrooms, there is a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea, there intel or instagram into a big business. we are giving them the skills to figure that out, but then we are going to turn around and tell them to start the business and create those jobs in china, or india, or mexico, or someplace else. that is not how you grow new industries in america.
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that is how you give new industries to our competitors. that is why we need comprehensive immigration reform. [applause] now, during my first term, we took steps to try to patch up some of the worst cracks in the system. first, we strengthen security at the borders so that we could finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants. we put one puts on the ground on -- more boots on the ground on the southern border than in any other time in history. today, a legal crossings are down nearly 80% from their peak in 2000. [applause] second, we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and in danger our communities. today, deportations of criminals
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is at its highest level ever. [applause] third, we took up the cause of the dreamers. the young people who were brought to this country -- [applause] young people who have grown up here, have their lives here, teachers here. we said if you are able to meet basic criteria, like pursuing an education, then we will consider offering you the chance to come out of the shadows so that you can live here and work here illegally. so that you can finally have the dignity of knowing you belong. but because this change is not permanent, we need congress to act, and not just on the dream act. we need congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country right now. that is what we need. [applause]
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now, the good news is, or the first time in many years, republicans and democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. [applause] members of both parties in both chambers are actively working on a solution. yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform which are very much in line with the principles of a proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. so at this moment it looks like there is a genuine desire to get this done soon. and that is very encouraging. but this time, action must follow.
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we cannot allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. we have been debating this for a very long time. it is not as if we do not know technically what needs to be done. as a consequence to help move this process along, today i am lying about my ideas for immigration reform, and my hope is this provides some key markers to members of congress as the craft a bill, because the ideas i am proposing have traditionally been supported by both democrats like ted kennedy, and republicans like president george w. bush. you do not get that match up
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very often. we know where the consensus should be. of course, there will be rigorous debate about many of the details. and every stakeholder should engage in real give-and-take in the process. but it is important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place, and if congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, i will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away. [applause] so, the principles it are pretty straightforward. there are a lot of detail behind it. we will hand out a bunch of papers so everyone knows we're
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talking about. but the principals are straightforward. first, i believe we need to stay focused on enforcement. that means continuing to strengthen security at our borders. it means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers. to be fair, most businesses want to do the right thing, but a lot of them have a hard time figuring out who is here illegally and who is not, so we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly verify some one's employment status. and if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, the need to wrap up the penalties. second, we have to deal with the 11 million individuals who are here illegally. we all agree that these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. but for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a clear path to citizenship. [applause]
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we have got to lay out a path. a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning english, and then going to the back of the line, beyond all the folks who are tried to come here legally. that is only fair. [laughter] -- [applause] that means it will not be a quick process, but it will be a fair process and will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship. [applause] and the third principle is we have to bring our legal immigration system into the 21st century.
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it no longer reflects the values of our time. for example, if you are a citizen, you should not have to wait years before your family is able to join you in america. [applause] he should not have to wait years -- you should not have to wait years. if you are a foreign student who was to pursue a career in science or technology, or a foreign entrepreneur that wants to start a business with the backing of american investors, we should help you do that here. because if you succeed, you will create american businesses and american jobs. you will help us grow our economy, strengthen our middle- class. so that is what comprehensive immigration reform looks like. smarter enforcement, at a pathway to earn citizenship, improvements in the legal immigration system so that we continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest all around the world. it is pretty straightforward. the question now is simple. do we have the result --
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resolve as a people, as a country, as a government, to finally put this behind us? i believe that we do. [applause] i believe that we do. [applause] i believe we are finally at the moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp. but i promise you this, the closer we get, the more emotional this debate will become. immigration has always been an issue that inflames passions. that is not surprising. there are few things that are more important to us as a society than who gets to come here and call our country home. who gets the privilege of becoming a citizen of the united states of america. that is a big deal. when we talk about that in the abstract, it is easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of us versus them.
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and when that happens a lot of folks forget that most of us used to be them. we forget that. [applause] unless you are one of the first americans, a native american, you came from somewhere else. somebody brought you. [applause] he is of mexican-american descent but people live with he lived for four engineers. he did not emigrate anywhere.
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the irish, the germans who fled persecution, the scandinavian is who arrived eagerly, a polish, the russian, the italian, the chinese, the japanese, the west indians, the huddled masses that came through to ellis island. [applause] all those folks, before there were us, they were them. when its new wave of immigrants arrived, they face resistance from those already here. they faced hardship. they face racism. they face ridicule.
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over time, they went about their daily lives. they earned a living. they raised a family. they built a community. their children -- their children went to school year. they did their part to build the nation. they were the einstein's, the carnegies, and the millions of women's -- millions of men and women whose names we do not remember but whose actions helped make us who we are. they built this country, and by hand. -- hand by hand. [applause] they all came here knowing that what makes someone american is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story.
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that is still true today. allen is here this afternoon. where is he? he is a round here -- there he is, right here. [applause] now, allen was born in mexico. [applause] he was brought to this country by his parents when he was a child. growing up, he went to an american school. he pledged allegiance to the american flag. he felt american in every way and he was. except for one. on paper. in high school, allen lost his friends, of age, riding around town with their new licenses, earning extra cash from their summer jobs at the mall, and he knew he could not do those
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things. it did not matter that much. what mattered to him was earning an education so he could live up to ms. god-given potential. when he heard the news we would offer a chance for folks like him to emerge from the shadows, even for just two years at a time, he was one of the first to sign up. he was one of the first people in nevada to get approved two months ago. [applause] he said he felt the fear vanish. he felt accepted. he is in his second year at the college of southern nevada. [applause] he is studying to become a doctor. [applause]
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he hopes to join the air force. [applause] he is working hard every single day to build a better life for himself and his family. all he wants is the opportunity to do his part to build a better america. [applause] so in the coming weeks, as the idea of reform becomes more real, and the debate becomes more heated, and there are folks who are trying to pull this thing apart, remember allen and all those who shared the same hopes and st. james barrett remember this is not just a debate about policy. it is about people. it is about men and women and
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young people who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the american story. throughout our history, that has only made our nation stronger. that is how we will make sure this century is the same as the last. an american century. a welcoming of everybody who aspires to do something more. and is willing to work hard to do it. and is willing to pledge that allegiance to our flag. thank you. god bless you. and god bless the united states of america. [applause] ["hail to the chief" playing]
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♪ >> as the president continues to greet the audience in las vegas today, we will get right to your phone calls.
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our first call is from cal. >> i have been living in this country for over 13 years. i came illegally. i still do not have my green card. it sounds like illegal immigrants have the immigration system broken. or the system is broken only for illegal immigrants. i am a legal immigrant. i have been waiting 13 years to get my green card. >> what would you suggest for a policy that would help you? >> what i would like to see the
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legal emigrants should be given a green card option. before we even talk about illegal immigrants. right now, it looks like if you are here illegally, you are at the line. that is one of the things i would like. >> next up is lindex, a republican color. what do you have to say? >> he said not be issued a green card. i think they ought to be sent back to mexico. i do not think they should be here with american jobs when there are too many americans without jobs.
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>> the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the u.s. could ervin provisional legal status with a green card bypassing background checks and bank fees and penalties. people brought to the u.s. as children could expedite their path to citizenship. our next call is if lisa. -- alleys up. -- all lisa , all lisa-- our next call is from a lilesia. >> some of the hispanics take the jobs americans do not want to do. that would be a perfect opportunity for hispanics. i think that would be a good opportunity to have some kind of citizenship or something, an opportunity for the hispanics. we have three children together.
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my husband is a very good person. he is a hard worker. >> a democrat calling from element -- from maryland, you have the floor. >> i am calling about the obama speech. >> you are on the air. >> [indiscernible] i have been in this country for 33 years. i have relatives who have been here for 10 years or 15 years. with this policy, the policy will pass [indiscernible] it benefits all the immigrants in this country from nigeria.
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you know, america, [indiscernible] >> during the speech, we see the president there, mr. obama praised the bipartisan group who released their own proposal yesterday. there are differences in the plans. the senate proposal would put on unmanned drones, surveillance equipment and more agents and in ports of entry. the president's plant would boost technology for foreign investment and penalties for those who smuggle their drugs across the border. senator mccain is one of the senators part of the group that released it yesterday. he spoke about why republicans should support immigration reform.
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>> we realized the issues which we think we are in agreement with hispanic citizens, this is a preeminent issue with those citizens. also, i think over the years, republicans in particular, but also democrats and all our citizens, have realized the reality of what all of my colleagues just stated. we cannot continue as a nation with 11 million people residing in the shadows. we have to address the issue. it has to be done in a bipartisan fashion. if we do succeed, and i think we will, it will be a testimonial to ted kennedy's effort years ago that laid the groundwork for disagreement. you will find the disagreement has very little difference from that of the legislation that was led by senator kennedy some years ago. >> senator mccain and senator
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chuck schumer from new york are both part of the bipartisan group of senators talking about immigration. they will lead at the political breakfast tomorrow. next up is mason from jackson, tennessee. are you there? >> i am. >> what did you think of president obama's speech? >> i think it is a good opportunity for all illegal immigrants to try to gain citizenship here instead of working in other people's names and undocumented and not having a right. this is a good opportunity for them to get legal. >> rochelle is from las vegas, an independent college. >> what i find totally ironic is that president obama is at a school in clark county, which school whichspanic rat
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40% of all spanish students drop out of high school there. they are the fifth worst school drastic. what president obama, i totally believe in what he is doing, i am very happy, and i think immigrants and americans all, we need education and we need to get reaffirmed with the whole culture of what make us who we are. i do not think our public education system are really doing that for anyone now. my young students, i work with a 70% hispanic rates, 5% of their immigrants coming from this country, and i wanted to educate them, but i was prevented from doing so. that is also a huge focus for me. >> we are taking your calls on immigration, but you can join the conversation on twitter,
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#immgration. we are asking for your boss on immigration. what are your priorities? >> i agree with what president obama said in his speech almost entirely. the only comment i would like to make clear is that he does have, hee mccann 's speech he did, has some republican senators on board. he may be pushing a little hard in saying if he cannot get it through congress that he will then send his own bill through. that is like throwing down a gauntlet. he could perhaps try to be a little bit more conciliatory and
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come closer to getting what he wants rather than antagonizing some other people. >> we are taking your calls on president obama's immigration plan he announced today. our next call is from alabama. what do you think of the different proposals offered from the senators and president obama? >> [indiscernible] survival for this family. [indiscernible] it should not benefit. but, [indiscernible] they have been hiding, it is time for them to get out. i know a lot of them. a friend of mine.
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[indiscernible] they have deportation. this is not fair. they have been hiding, you know, with a family. the wife is still in america and the husband in mexico. or one of them [indiscernible] if they had been here and working for money in the family, they could benefit and that is a good opportunity. >> a headline in the national journal says why immigration form could die in the house. the story says 131 of the 233 house republicans represent districts that are more than 80% white. many of those have proposed measures beyond improving border security in the past. there are also note national pressure grows for immigration reform in the district. our last call is from oliver,
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calling from silver spring, maryland. >> hello. i have a comment regarding the fact that my parents came from overseas or legally --legal -- legally. they have had a complete physical and go to a medical center approved by the embassy. my point in this immigration reform is unless they make it very careful, in 20023, we will have another 11 million illegals. the same situation. they have to have a very clear-
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cut penalty for those who hire illegals. >> wanted to net it -- to let you know the conversation will continue on emigration tomorrow morning on "washington journal" with former congress set a torrid. people talk about all of the proposals. that is at 7:45 a.m. eastern on c-span. a discussion now on cia interrogation and research and capture from osama bin laden. we will hear from cia officials who served during the bush administration. the panel response to the depiction of cia interpretation in the film, "zero dark thirty." [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> could morning. welcome to this morning's panel. separating fact from fiction. i am a member of a task force on detention and interrogation policy. captain bigelow's recent film sparked controversy. its graphic depiction of eight torture. for the most part, the outrage has come from the left. you are a conservative like me, when you see the washington left with the hollywood left, your temptation is to sit back and destroyed a fight. that is why many of the cia and
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defenders and supporters stayed out of this debate. i interrupt while the progressives are fighting it out. many americans will form their opinions based on what they see on the silver screen. it is important for those who know the truth to set the record straight and separate fact from fiction. today, we have a distinguished panel to help us do that. three veterans. there were directly involved in the cia integration and detention program. also the hunt for osama bin laden. mike is the former director of the national security agency and the director of the intelligence agency. i got to know him back in 2006, when i was asked to write the president's speech revealing the existence of the interrogation program. he was very kind to give me access to all the intelligence and introduced me to the men and women who conducted the interrogation.
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but he is not only one of the smartest people i know. he is one of the most compelling witnesses. when he came into the office, the program had been suspended. he was not involved in its initial creation. he conducted a partial assessments. he gathered all the information and had to advise the president whether or not to restart it. he concluded he could not advise the president not to have an interrogation program. we will ask him to explain why that is. jose rodriguez is the former director of the cia service. he was an undercover officer, becoming the head of the cia's counter-terrorism center. including the interrogation program defected in this film.
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he is the author on what i considered the best book on this topic. he is in my view an american hero. john is the former chief legal officer of the cia. he spent 34 years in a cia office of general counsel. he has been called the most influential career lawyer in the cia history. in his memoir, a former director prospects, -- director wrote, you do not call in the top guys in a crisis. call lawyers. get the information they needed while staying well inbounds of the law. personally.ed carefull before we discussed -- before
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we begin the discussion, let's show a trailer of the film. >> can i be honest with you? i have bad news. i am not your friend. i will not help you. i will break you. any questions? ♪ i want to make something absolutely clear. a working group coming to a rescue. i want you to know you are wrong. there is nobody else.
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there is just us. we are failing. ♪ >> do you really believe this story? osama bin laden? >> the whole world will want to know this. [indiscernible] ♪
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>> all right. so, the progressives complaint is, the detection of torture is accurate, and their role in finding osama bin laden is not accurate. i want to ask a real simple question. it has been quite an experience going to the movie theater and seeing something you all worked so closely on in your lives. what did you think of the movie? >> i like it. on balance, i am glad it was made. we will talk about that is not quite right and so on. on balance, i am very happy the
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story was made. frankly, i am very happy because i read the op-ed in a post this morning. we will discuss the accuracy, artistic and historical, inside the film. i think it does a masterful job at suggesting that in the real world, there are no right angles and no easy answers to very difficult situations and that was a great service. >> i also like the movies. very entertaining. is a movie and there are some things i really like and things i did not like. i did not like the portrayal of the enhanced interrogation techniques. i did not like the fact that it made a false link between
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torture and intelligence successes. i also think torture does not work. our program works because it was not tortured. there were other things i like about the movie. i like the fact that it conveyed it was a 10-years. -- 10 years. and that the agency was the focus of the effort and that it succeeded because of the commitment, dedication, and tenacity of its people. i like the fact that it showed the enhance interrogation program had something to do with the capture of been lot in. i'd like -- osama bin laden. human operations, analysis,
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technical operations, imagery. i also liked it showed the strong working relationship between agency and the military. it is a mixed bag. it is entertainment and i like entertainment. >> i agree. it was a terrific action flick about 20 minutes too long. [laughter] the final takedown was done in real time. rigging. -- preventing -- it was printed
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riveting. and how the technique came to be and the safeguards we put on them. all the monitoring by medical personnel during the course of the interrogation, is a movie. the character in the marvy, the interrogator, making stuff up as he went along, not talking, bring on the water, get a bucket. people ask me about the box. most of you know one of the texas -- one of the techniques was a box, putting a detainee in a box for a limited duration. the box in the movie is not the kind of box used. when i say all this, i do not
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want to downplay or leave any impression that the actual water boarding was tame or benign. it was a very aggressive technique, as or all the others. -- as were all the others. i went into it telling myself it will be a movie. i was relieved there were no lawyers involved in the movie. [laughter] i would expand the next four years at a cocktail party explaining why i was not that lawyer. on the whole, it was a mixed bag but a terrific movie. i think it did really taking no sides. i think there were complicated
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moral questions, especially in the first few scary months after the 911 attacks. >> you are the -- you were the chief legal officer at the time. would you have authorize the interrogation techniques as they were depicted? do they just throw someone on a mat and pour water on their heads? >> no. the interrogators were not allowed to ad lib. there were certain specific memos. there was a meticulous procedure to undertake. before use of the water board, they will confirm this, the interrogators at the site would have to come back in riding and explain why they thought the water boarding was necessary. it would be approved at
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headquarters. it took the cia director to approve the use. the box is not pleasant. there was a big box authorized you could stand in and a smaller box. it did not appear to me to be quite as small as what was depicted in the movie. but yes, there was a box technique. everyone can look at it a different light. i had the impression in this seen the guy was ad libbing as he went along. that was far from the reality. >> one of the scenes, the interrogator throws the detainee
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down and pours water in his face and shouted, when is the last time osama bin laden -- you saw osama bin laden? there is a difference between interrogation and debriefing. the purpose of and calibration is not -- of interrogation, we do not ask questions we do not know the answer to. >> hollywood has got to compress everything. there are no lawyers depicted in the film. one station chief for 10 years. [laughter] things are bad decompressed. reality may have just been too long a story. i am almost willing to make an absolute statement that we never asked anybody anything we did
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not know the answer to while they were undergoing the enhanced interrogation techniques. the techniques were not designed to elicit truth in the moment, tell me this or i will hurt you more, i am not your friend. two thirds of our detainees, it was not necessary. i am willing to admit the existence of the option may have influenced the two thirds who said, let's talk. for about one-third, techniques were used. not to elicit information in a moment, but to take someone who had come into our custody, absolutely defiant, and move them into a zone of cooperation whereby, you recall the scene in the movie after the detainee is cleaned up and they are having this lengthy conversation. for the rest of the detention,
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it is a conversation. is a deep -- a debriefing. it is a going back to for a -- back and forth. a lot of people reflexively say they will say anything to make you stop. that may be true. that is why we did not ask them questions while this was going on. again, john said, these things were not kind. but the impact psychologically, you are no longer in control of your destiny. you are in our hands. that movement into the zone of cooperation, as opposed to the zone of compliance. >> usually, the interrogation
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program lasted a few days, and in the case of some, a few weeks. it was a finite amount of time. the justifications for the use of the techniques said that we could not go beyond 30 days. they had very specific information regarding how long it could be and how long we could pour water. it was very well controlled. pretty quickly, he recognized within tech seconds -- 10 seconds, we would stop pouring water. it was figured out any started to come up with his fingers up to 10. he would let us know the time was up. >> tell the story you have in your book about what was said to
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our interrogators after being what aborted. >> it was interested -- water boarded. >> it was interesting. we -- if it was the explanation. the explanation was the brothers and needed religious gambling boom -- it gave us the explanation. the explanation was the brother is it a religious hot --- to ta. once they felt they were there, they would then become compliant and provide information. he basically recommended to us we needed to submit the brothers to this type of procedure if we wanted them to cooperate.
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to help them reach the level where they would become compliant. >> to do so without sin. this narrative was my summer of 2006 trying to make judgments on the overall effectiveness of the program in the past and what would be a legitimate program going for it. circumstances had changed. this story was important for my own soul-searching on this because, in other words, i was not trying to prove the point that what we were doing was universally applicable. it was well suited to this group. whose believe was founded on metaphysical principles. obedience to the will of god.
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this story told about creating -- olla expects us to obey him, but he will not send eight burden bigger than we can handle. i can speak to you without fear of hell. on the outside, some tried to expand the debate. to suggest we are trying to suggest some kind of metaphysical macro principle applied to all time. that may be true but i was not interested in that. abbas focused on what was happening here in this world. -- i was focused on what was happening here in this world. >> they reached the point where they felt they could talk. once they reached that point, these are very egomaniacs people. they have a big huge egos and
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they cannot wait to tell you how evil they are. page started talking. they would not stop. -- vesa started talking. they would not stop. they started talking. they would not stop. >> that philosophy started. ower,u read the looming tallo he was tortured and gave up one of his close confidants. the person came to him and said, you are ok. you resisted. he resisted as far as you could. no one could have undergone it. you did the right thing by giving me up. he was one of the people who trained them in towner
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interrogation techniques. this is the philosophy spread throughout the group. i do not think that happened. how many detainees underwent waterboarding? we often hear that ksm was waterboarding 180 times. he told the red cross it was five times but so -- no one seems to believe him. >> liby was never waterboarded. he was the last detainee who thatubjected to eit's so stopped midstream. earning him a minor footnote in
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history i suppose. they were not resumed until some months later. this issue of numbers, how many times, an ig report was done in two dozen for which was subsequently declassified by the obama administration. oit depends on the way you count them. the applications lasted a matter of seconds. want to say what
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these guys went through was not very aggressive. but just simply -- those numbers are way out of bounds. they have been misinterpreted in subsequent years to suit the commentaries and organizations -- organization's polemic perspective. one of the startling statistics in looking at this is there more journalists who had themselves water boarded to prove it is torture then there are terrorists who have been waterboarding. >> and a number of lawyers, too. >> i want to be able to experience it. >> that was not me. i was not quite prepared to go that far in our legal research.
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there was a lawyer who agreed to do that. and tens of thousands of american servicemen had been waterboarding. the only thing -- people we water board are americans in uniform. it continues, not just of terrorists prefer if let's turn to the question of the role that the detainees played in the hunt for bin laden. if you can walk through the role they played and how they interacted with other intelligence. >> i have to mention because we're anchored on the movie. it is a lot more subtle, i think than those who have not seen the movie trefoil fill free to comment. after reading commentary about the movie i expected this nonstop pretty short line between an interrogation session
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and boots on the ground and there is an awful lot of complex intelligence work that is shown in the movie. for which i don't think the movie gets sufficient credit. when i was briefed, when the ubl team came in and said we think we're on to something here. what was not portrayed was the obsession in tracking down osama bin laden. this was a very broad team and these folks had been working on one or another different hypotheses as to how to do this in the came to me and said, couriers. this will be a very positive amount of inquiry. we have got some information. we're confident he is not communicating electronically
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because they have given all the other means we probably would have detected that. we had some leads on couriers. i wish i had taken notes at the meeting but they laid out a series of patsy were following. one of which was information- derived from cia 3. we were trying to prove a principle here. try to refit and argument. anticipate an academy nominated movie. that is the point i tried to suggest to you. it is almost impossible for me to imagine anything like about a bad happening -- abottabad happening. and the ability to go back to
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the detainees and challenge their information or to prompt them with new information. let me just suggest one other thing. to create a linear connection .etween interrogations stuff you have in your possession takes meeting only from information later discovered. and that kind of costco warehouse order thing, one of those last seen from raiders of the lost ark, kind of starts to blow because it is something you have learned in 2007 or 2008. to have to treat this not as a threat but as a tapestry. i think that is the only way to consider it. >> one of the things you told me was that intelligence is like
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putting together a puzzle without the cover on the box. >> like putting together a puzzle that there are no age pieces and you do not get to see the cover on the box. and there are a bunch of puzzle pieces that do not belong. if you can talk to someone who has glimpsed the cover of the box and that is the detainee, it eliminates an awful lot of things that cannot quite fit into the pattern. >> the hunt focuses on the information. there's a lot more to this story and that is the destruction of al qaeda. and the enhanced interrogation
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program was key in destroying al qaeda. bin laden came 10 years later. we had a number of terrorists that were coming after us with plots and we were able to capture them, kill them, destroy the plot to wrap them up because of his program. we can go into detail in terms of everything that happened but the enhanced interrogation program was the key to that. >> take us back to since we're pulling back the broader picture. take this back to september 11. we had just been hit. what do know about al qaeda? did we know that he had this -- members of his network, all this information we take for granted?
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>> we did not know that much. if it was khalid sheikh mohammed who was responsible for 9/11. we had a few assets that provided a some peripheral information but we did not know very much. it took a long time for us to be in a position to really learn what was going on. in march of 2002 recaptured -- we captured a key member of al qaeda. contrary to what some people are saying, he provided a couple of pieces of information but then he shut down. and we knew that there were coming after us in the second wave of attacks. we knew that they had a nuclear program, they had a biological
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weapons program. we needed to do something different and that is when the enhanced interrogation program came into existence. he went through the enhanced interrogation program in august 1, 2002 for 20 days or so. two weeks later there was a major player. he was the go-between to the al qaeda central and that we captured rashim nashiri. and others, khalid sheikh mohammed, every chief of operations of al-qaeda. this was the key to all that. and we forget that was just not been laid in 10 years later.
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it was al qaeda coming after us with capable people. >> one of the points she made to me once that after 9/11, we had a lethal program to get the people who had done this to us but we had a program to get some of these people live and find out what we know. it is not optimal. you want to kill terrorists but it is not always optimal. it seems to me our policy is to vaporize all the intelligence with drones. is that an optimal situation? >> yea. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks when we were frantically trying to pull together a program that would elicit the information that we were -- experts were convinced -- colleagues were
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keeping from us, i can tell you. it was there from the beginning through the end of the program in 2008, 2009. the cia is an intelligence collection organization first and foremost. it has always been the institutional dna to want to collect intelligence from all sorts -- by all sorts of means, especially human intelligence. you can collect human intelligence from a dead guy. the priority, absolute priority was to thwart the next terrorist attack. which everyone including our people with cra, thought was all a matter of time. the priority from the beginning was him and the others. to take them alive. he was captured in a rather
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furious fire fight in which he was seriously wounded. the agency said doctors over to bring him back. not out of some sense of compassion but he was no good to us dead. the intelligence collection portion for years was paramount. lethal operations was certainly not the first option and it clearly was not the only option for those of us at the time. >> one of the critiques of the program is that khalid sheikh mohammed underwent waterboarding and sleep deprivation but he still live. hedden been -- can you expand on that? >> yes.
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people think once you become complained that means 100% of the time it will give you the information i have in their minds which is not going to happen. this is not a push button, get in and a kind of thing. khalid sheikh mohammed was so elusive for is in his pushing back on the career that we smelled a rat. we knew there was an issue there. at the time we had a number of prisoners at one of our black sites. they were communicating with each other. they did not think we knew. we did not tell them that we knew they were communicating with each other. we intercepted a communication between khalid sheikh mohammed and some of the other detainees in which he said "do not say a word about the courier." that told us a lot about the courier. he speaks to the importance of having a place to take the
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individuals. we could use that type of communication. we could use it to check a name. it was very helpful for us. >> after the osama bin laden raid came out and the word came out that interrogations played a role, senator mccain gave a speech and said that the first mention of mohammed al-qahtani came from a detainee held in another country. we did not render him to the country for the purpose of interrogation. that statement is technically
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correct. it is deeply misleading. not intentionally. it implies that we knew all this before hand and we're now just saying we got more information. can you explain why that particular, why it is important that the program was not critical to it? >> you're probably talking about another the first mentions, he mentioned it in passing. at the time, which was 2002 or 2003, it did not mean anything to us. a security expert for al qaeda, it was not until we got our own information from a facilitator in 2004 that we learned that al-kuwaiti was the courier for osama bin laden.
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at the time it did not mean anything to us. it was like saying josé the puerto rican. what meant something to us was the fact that we got validation that there was one courier who was osama bin laden's principal way of communicating with al qaeda central. it meant that osama bin laden had taken himself out of the day-to-day running of al qaeda, that he had decided for whatever reason that he was just going to run the operation long distance, recognizing that it was going to be a lot less effective to run an operation like that from far away. it also told us that finding osama bin laden would be a lot more difficult. al-kuwaiti was his true name and go out and find him.
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the information that was obtained at the site although not complete was key. it is what is important in the eventual take down of the man. >> i mentioned the article this morning about this movie being a national rorschach test. you will see what you want to see. sometimes we talk past one another. you just saw jose's description and mark's. it is a tapestry. it is complicated. when john wrote the report he
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said that there is no evidence that any imminent attacks have been stopped for the cia interrogations program. let's let that stand on its merits. let's not even challenge that. that then is taken to mean the program therefore was not effective. you cannot prove this close, immediate, if it did not lead you to tackle someone who is around on the rooftop right before the attempt, then it did not count. breaking up the financial network 18 months earlier, disrupting the courier, you get the point. sometimes it gets bollixed up.
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we had all the letters here. we are mixing and matching. i think that gets lost. >> one example is the takedown of the cell where you had ksm getting information that he gave $50,000. then you take that information. he gives us the name of the person that he gave a description and the phone number. that information, you then would lose analysis on on that phone number. it was critical to that. all sorts of intelligence aspects get involved. >> you cannot separate any single source, any single discipline, any single thread. maybe we could think of one. that is not how it normally happens.
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it is reflected with the detective work that goes on once you leave the emphasis on these sites. >> you once called the bluff of the deniers and suggested that it produced no information. why do we not sure of interrogations reports? we have the intelligence committee now. no one has seen it. they claim it says that no information useful came from enhanced interrogation. why do they not pass a law saying it should be destroyed and never used again? >> i was feeling prickly when i wrote that. if you think it is all invalid and all illegitimate, in our
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legal system, if you pose it on ethical grounds this never works. let us know. we will clean out the files. it is an overwrought challenge on my part. you see the points that i'm trying to draw here. this was important. let me tell you what you threw away. you threw away the 9/11 report. >> i think it is a ridiculous assertion when a report says that the enhanced interrogation program had no value or produced nothing. it is disturbing.
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in my view, it is an attempt to rewrite history. the narrative of this administration is that the enhanced interrogation program was torture and nothing came out of it. in fact, we were able to destroy al qaeda because of it. i do not know how they can spend 3.5 years spending i do not know how many millions of dollars and never interviewed any of us and come up with a statement like that. i do not understand that. >> it does not make any sense. it does not compute. nothing? nothing? thousands of reports produced zilch? we can argue about what role it played.
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this administration and reconfirmed by the current acting director, the program did play a role. this is a complex picture with many different strands intertwined. we can argue about how big a role it played. it just defies logic for someone to take a position that none of it, none of their reports, none of the detainee reporting made any difference at all. do not buy that. >> mike once compared the
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deniers of the cia program to birthers and truthers. there seems to be an obsession of critics to deny the efficacy of the program. if you look at a movie like "zero dark thirty," kathryn bigelow says she acknowledges the effectiveness. it is a valid position to take. why are people so obsessed with trying to disprove the obvious, that we got information? >> i may be a little edgy in my response. i am pointing to the broader american public. nationalng about the psyche, not anybody in and out of office. just you.
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part of a collective. the american citizenry. let me tell you a sentence i never heard of director of the cia. "i know this is bad, but what ever you do, do not overreact." i never heard that. i can document a whole bunch of conversations that were way on the other side. it might be as part of a national consciousness a moral struggle for some and our citizenry or national political culture that they are trying to deal not with that we did it but that they did not mind it. or they did not mind it at the time. or they did not mind at the time strong enough to say let's not overreact.
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let me give you the intelligence officer's lament. this is whining. we're often put a situation where we are bitterly accused of not doing enough to defend america when people feel endangered. then as soon as we have made people feel safe again we are accused of doing too much. i realize that is my fault, my whining. everyone may not share that view. every now and again in a self pitying a moment i allow myself that thought. [laughter] >> look. i agree. whether we do these types of programs ever again, it is up to the president. it is up to the american people. they can choose. what i take exception to is
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trying to say it did not work. we need to be honest with ourselves and do an honest assessment of the value that this program brought. we may have to do something like it. it is a dangerous world out there. >> let me ask you a question. are we less safe today because this program has been curtailed? you developed a program that was handed off to any administration. it has been eliminated. what is the effect of that? >> honest men can differ about this.
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i respect honest men who differ about this. the individual can form a sentence saying i did not want you to do this. i have issues. i do not want you doing this even though it may have helped. you and i are coming from the same political culture. we have a meaningful discussion about what it is, how much risk do we want to embrace as a people? when i became director in 2006, i concluded that we are not the nation's jailers. we are the nation's intelligence service. there cannot be an endless detention program where we keep people. i spent the summer of 2006 talking to people saying we ought to move these people out of cia custody. because the value of most of them are off to a point that other factors were becoming more dominant in the equation. over labor day weekend we lost
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14 detainees to guantanamo. i also attempted a dialogue with congress. i recognized that if this were valuable and said we need some kind of program to go forward, we needed this option. i was not prepared to tell the president do not worry about this, you'll never need this in the future. i also knew it that the preservation would depend on a whole bunch of factors. one was need. how much more do we know about al qaeda now? how many more human and other intelligence penetrations of al
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qaeda do we now have compared to where we were in 2002? a lot changed. things that were lawful in one circumstance may not be in another. this had to be america's program. it could not be the cia program or the bush administration's program.
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there is no success if you are running an on-off switch every two years. i was willing to revamp the program and make it more narrow. it takes it off the table and able to preserve a program that is politically sustainable. that is pretty much what we thought we did. that is the dialogue we have with the incoming obama administration. i began my longest conversation with them at the agency, something along the lines of i think we have already done what you have done. a lot changed. it is appropriate in the new circumstances. it did not hold. all american detainees under any agent of the american government have to be treated with the army field manual. it was proved in september 2006. i would suggest the casual manual was written with the knowledge that there was option b.
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that this program was also available. now we are left with this option a. it should not concern you. before you get to interrogation, you have to capture and we do not capture. we have made it so legally difficult and so politically dangerous to capture that it seems to the outside looking in that the default option is to take the terrorists off the battlefield in another way. >> could you talk a bit about what obama inherited? we had moderate sleep deprivation. tummy slap. a diet of liquid ensure. i'm sure the product owners would love to hear that is torture. >> we assessed the political realities. we assessed the legal decisions. they said what techniques do you have to have to ensure the
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continued efficacy of the program? they came back with the set of scaled-down techniques. waterboarding was off the table. sleep deprivation. remained in a limited form. plus what you call the basic techniques. the box was gone. it was definitely a far less progressive program. -- aggressive program. it remained viable and effective. we took part of these briefings of the obama administration
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team. we thought we had a program that was viable, limited, politically and legally realistic. one by way the entire intelligence committee have now been briefed into. to digress for a second, the major mistake we made, and i include myself in this, was in the early years of the program. the existence of the program, it was limited to the gang of 8. i think that was a mistake. by 2006 both had been briefed. we thought it was possible. we thought the obama administration could have continued the program in this
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limited form, at least maintained it as an option. it did not come to pass. i do not think any less realistically thought they would stick with it. we had not reviewed the executive order. guantanamo was out of our lane. this is a factual flaw in the film. they were saying this is not factually correct.
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we got a hold of the executive order again. all government will be confined to the techniques in army field manual. my friends and i have talked about this. i said not that you ask, this is not occurring on the executive order. let me offer you a thought. down here it says all agents will be confined to the techniques in the army. i said if you would just put the phrase "unless otherwise authorized by the president" you might be able to buy back an awful lot of flexibility. what we needed most of all was ambiguity in terms of someone coming into american custody, being quite sure what would happen. that has not happened. that was the last thought we had
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on the process. >> you mentioned even if it was a blank page this would have made an effect. one of the last detainees that came into the program, i cannot remember the name of the individual. he came into custody. he was told we are the cia. he said i will tell you anything you want to know. >> the cartoonish version of it is let me tell you who we are. i heard about you. he was actually cooperative. >> just the existence. >> yes. back to the ambiguity. one thing that does come across in the movie, but you have to watch it very carefully, the most powerful tool we had in every interrogation we
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conducted was our knowledge. not one or another technique. >> once you got through the enhanced interrogation process then the real interrogation began, the debriefing. that is with the skill and knowledge with the people who were conducting the sessions. the knowledge base was so good that these people knew that we were not going to be fooled. we had other prisoners in our sights.
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we would be able to check information against others. they knew that. we mentioned the takedown. they did not know how much khalid sheikh mohammed had told us about $50,000. we would go and give him what we have heard from khalid sheikh mohammed and he thought we had given him all the information. he provided the names from there. it was very well done. the credit goes to the agency analysts and others who participated in the debriefing of his terrorists and wrote thousands and thousands of intelligence dissemination, which we would read every morning and were amazed at the information that was being disseminated.
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it was an incredible effort. >> this program gave us an enormous amount of information about al qaeda in pakistan. the administration continues to use the intelligence every day in drone strikes. it is not just actable intelligence but how they operate. since the program was shut down we have seen the emergence of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. we have had the emergence of al-shabab merging with al qaeda central. and al qaeda in africa. are we struggling in a way? the information we have on
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pakistan and the lack of information, is it harder to get the intelligence we need because we do not have this tool? >> one of the most important threads of information that i saw when i got there and still in 2006, late in the game, was detainee information. i already suggested to you that i am willing to adjust the detainee program. we have other penetrations and sources and knowledge. we have a better sense of the imminence of attack, what state of danger we are in as a nation. i told you we entered the black
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side in 2006. lazy journalists sometimes they we closed them. we did not. we kept the option open for the president. between that date and the time i'm leaving, we captured two people. it isn't setting indoor records compared to what we have done. it had become far more difficult to do this. i understand that. i do. to go back to my earlier statement. we have made it so legally challenging and politically dangerous. you tell the bureaucracy that is an option. it is electrified. i know how bureaucracies respond. that option does not flow to the top when you began to explore things. what you're getting is a little bit different than the white
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house saying all options are on the table. that is probably correct. in the real world what i just described for you makes a real difference. let's make it christmas night 2009. let's make a conference call with the guy who tried to explode his underpants. it is christmas night. who is in town? you have everybody on the conference call. the attorney general says we have a team, talk to him. we are going to send a clean team in there. put that aside whether it is a good idea or bad idea. can you imagine the guy at the cia on the conference call going "excuse me attorney general, i've got another option for you
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to consider." i cannot imagine that happening because of the broader political, cultural context we have created. it is so legally difficult and politically dangerous that we seem to be absent. >> eventually your own government will come after you. this was 2003. we had tremendous support from the congress and the american people to make sure we were not attacked again.
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we kind of laughed. the problem is that a few years later many of us were being investigated. the agency was being investigated. the concern that i have, frankly to this day, is the chilling effect it has on the leadership at the agency. if tomorrow there is a big crisis and they say we're going to start x and there was controversy and risk in it, people are going to say look what happened in the past. despite the best efforts, we still had to face a lot of investigations and bills and indictment and stuff. i fear for the safety of our national security because of that.
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maybe am overdoing it but i have a great concern about it. >> looking down the road, let me indulge. hagen advised that you cannot kill everybody. detention must be an option left on the table. theoretically i suppose it is an option today. the reality is there has been a grand total of one detainee captured since the program ended.
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we cannot kill this threat by killing this threat. i will leave that at that. >> i wanted to open it up to questions from the audience. >> i am an open source intelligence person. in the movie, they have a portion where they take the gentleman and get them a very nice plate of food. the guy is apprehensive. the issue is we put you back in
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there but you do not have to eat this. the movie is criticized for the enhanced interrogation techniques but when someone decides to cooperate, one thing that is not always acknowledged is that once you get them to cooperate sometimes just giving the option to have something better, that can get them to talk. i was wondering what would it be in your experience, when you're not dealing with someone like khalid sheikh mohammed maybe you have some of the mid- level guys who are not as radicalized. what experiences you have with someone, them off the liquid food diet, helped turn the table to give them something? >> the whole program was
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designed around providing rewards for good behavior. they got a lot more than just good food. they got the best medical care. they got books. they watched movies. it was pretty good. they appreciate it. it was part of the program. >> we talked about the dvd collection at guantanamo. >> how did you get the true identity of osama bin laden's courier? would you have been able to track him down without using
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enhanced interrogation? >> as i said, we got the information of the courier from a facilitator who went through the enhanced interrogation program. it was not until some years later that we were able to get the true name of al-kuwaiti. that was through human collection capabilities. that was the importance intelligence that provided real information on the person that was the courier. the facilitator provided good information, the lead information, that allowed us to narrow it down.
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it was intelligence traditional work that led to the identification of al-kuwaiti. >> would you have been able to get him without enhances interrogation? >> it provided the lead information on osama bin laden. the enhanced interrogation program was much more than just getting osama bin laden. it was protecting the country and saving american lives. it allowed us to do it for 10 years. >> a couple of factual questions about the film. the main character, was that a fictional composition of different people who were looking after bin laden? i understand this is classified. was there one person that was
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really that template? did you actually really give italian sports cars to middlemen to obtain information? if so, which cars were they? [laughter] the deadly attack on the outpost, did that really happen because the local person was so eager to talk to the person? >> first of all about maya, all of us can claim we know a maya. clearly, the character in the movie is a composite. my wife will kill me.
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we were talking to her sister the other day and she said something about the movie being politically correct by making the woman the heroine. my wife responded this is an incredible band of sisters that spearheaded the ubl cell. this is not for it being a better story. most of the people who briefed me on osama bin laden were women officers of the cia. maya is a composite. there's so much emphasis on maya. the part of a movie that disturbed us the most was the portrayal of the base chief. she was a wonderful officer. she goes back pre-9/11.
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i understand artistically they wanted to create some sort of juxtaposition between her and maya, but it is very unfortunate and unfair that she was portrayed that way. let me offer you an additional thought. at the level of ethics and focus and attitude in culture, you do not get it without kost. it is not cause and effect. the kind of agency that was willing to lean forward, take this risk, willing to bring this potential source in is the kind of agency that leaned forward and finally led. it comes out of the same kind of cultural, ethical sense of duty reservoir. >> i knew jennifer matthews
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quite well. in many ways, in many ways that was the most in terms of try to separate from my movie, the way she was portrayed. it was clearly her. it was divorced from any sort of reality. jennifer was in the counter- terrorism center before 9/11. she and her colleagues were haunted by 9/11, haunted by guilt, haunted by the fact that maybe they should have done something else or found out something else.
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it was a terrible burden on all of them, but jennifer was affected directly. she came to talk to me about it afterwards. she came to talk to me because the cia inspector general wanted an investigation after 9/11 to assess accountability for 9/11 in the agency by name, people. think about that for a minute. people are going to be singled out for whose performance led to the 9/11 attack. it was a long list of people originally. it was immensely whittled down. jennifer was on that list. it haunted her and upset her. she was a far more complex and interesting character in real life than what was portrayed in the movie. in many ways, more of the composite figure than the maya. jennifer was far more attractive than the woman who played her in the movie. that may be a first in the history of modern docu-dramas.
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>> she was a lot more fun, too. >> i do not remember italian sports cars given to anybody. >> let me say thank you. i was wondering your position on whether or not the report on the interrogation program should be declassified. i am wondering whether you do see any risks to the program from an ethical perspective. if you could speak to why we should not have this program all the time or why you chose to
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rein it in? what those risks are even if there are practical needs. >> that sounded like pandering and i did not mean it to be. a complex culture means people are doing all sides of issues. we understand that. there are risks. i went to the german embassy in 2007. the ambassador had all of the ambassadors to the u.s. i said let's talk about detention and interrogation. i laid it out. let me give you four sentences. we believe we are a nation at war with al qaeda and the affiliates.
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my moral and legal responsibility is to take it to that enemy. there's not another country there's not another country in the world that would agree with any of those four sentences. they not only rejected it for them they had serious questions about the legitimacy of those four sentences for us. sometimes you have to forego things that in your mind are ethical, legal and effective because secondary and terse rare effects made over the longer term make you less effective, less able to reach your goal. let's take targeted killing, all right? i said on cnn sunday morning that, you know, there was a time when targed killing i knew there was secretary effects but that effect was important because of the danger that existed at the time. knew the external environment
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has changed that the degree of danger is different now those effects may become dominant. and so yes, i can see a down side for doing thing that you believe are effective, legal and appropriate. if it denies you the cooperation of others who see it in a different way. and i think we're all aware of that. we knew that. hence in 2006, we huddled up. what's appropriate going forward with no judgment whatsoever on what went on before? different circumstances. different people. >> not having read the c.i. report, i would say that before it's released, it needs to be fixed. if, in fact, it concludes that the enhanced interrogation program had no value, they need
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to take a second look and maybe even spend more time and talk to those of us who that were involved in the program way back when. i spent a lot of time talking to people who work with me. so my deputies were very senior analysts, very logical and these are folks that will analyze even aspect of things. and he gave me a 15-republican explanation as to why he thought it was ethical and why he agreed to participate in the first place. i mean, he provided arguments that i have never even considered and to a certain extent, i was amazed because different people have different ways of coming to the
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conclusion whether it's ethical or not to do this. in his case obviously he thought about this for a long time. . he even researched a lot of things. in my case, it was much quicker, pretty quickly, i was told it was legal. i had no issues with the procedures. i know that many of these procedures were applied to our old servicemen, tens of thousands of u.s. soldiers have gone through this. and so when i looked at the purpose here to protect america and to save american lives and when i saw the threats that we were facing which were of great concern, it was not that hard for know make that decision. >> well, i think we've come to the end of our time but just to
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conclude say, we were facing threats and the three men on our panel today are a large part of the reason why we didn't have another september 11, 2001. we thank you for not only being here today but for your service to this country. [applause] >> up next on c-span, a look at possible responses to a future economic crisis. and then president obama pushes for changes to the nation's immigration laws. democratic senator chuck schumer and republican senator john mccain are part of a bipartisan effort to make changes to the nation's immigration law. tomorrow they take part in a series. live coverage begins at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. and later, here on c-span, a
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senate panel looks at gun violence and ways to reduce it following the newtown, connecticut school shooting, and gabrielle giffords will testify. watch live coverage from the senate judiciary committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern. >> now george washington university hosts a role playing exercise on a hypothetical economic cry sick. former uniteded a ambassador to the u.s. and bill richardson. fred is the moderator. [applause] >> and hello from the george washington university. welcome. i'm frank sesno.
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and you are in political theater on center stage. on a time of american crisis. facethe facts.org is a project of george washington university is something that we put facts out each day. our amazing panelists are going to help us this evening. in this 90 minutes ahead, we will ask a very basic but important question -- can we americans still do great things? i know you all want to nod your head yes. and i know you all agree. but it is a tougher question than it seems. we have the help of an amazing panel from government business and media. we're asking them to play roles here tonight. and to deal with a fictional scenario that may seem all too real to you and to them it presents dilemmas and trade-offs. it requires decision and
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leadership. our scenario has been meticulously researched. but the panelists don't know anything about it. this is all spontaneous and -- you ready for that and unheard of. we hope. we are going to periodically refer to a fact. when you hear me say that, that's real. you in the audience, here in the hall, watching on c-span on huffington post and elsewhere you have a role as well because you will be able to vote as we go and help shape the conversation that we have here on stage. i'm going to ask the first question. let's just get right to. please pick up your hand held voting devices. let me ask a very simple but seemingly relevant question. if a new national crisis arose, how confident are you that congress and the president could agree on proactive,
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effective plan of action? is your confidence high, medium, low or zero. if you're holding a hand held go for the number. if you have to text a keyword text me on this, we will get your answers in a moment. what we're trying to do with this remarkable exercise this evening is make clear that the great challenges that this country confronts demand action . we actually have to talk to one another. i think i've heard you talk about that. we need to know what we're talking about. and we need to know how hard the business of governance really is. so how is the confidence level of the room and our voters? i wonder if we have that yet. let me start by introducing our
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remarkable panel. let me start with fiari tidaai, author, blogger. senator robert bennett. businessman, fred thompson. i've refinesed my house because of you. former senator, actor and all around great american. scott, member of congress. james fallows, renowned author and journalist. prow nouns it. >> iorio. >> iorio from tampa. and bill richardson former governor, former everything. and master negotiator. and finally representative donna edwards. thank you very much from maryland. from not too far away. let's see how you are on the confidence index folks. let put up the results.
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what do we got? not so great. so 46% of you have low confidence that this government could operate effectively confronted with a crisis. let's get to it. it is sometime in the future, a hypothetical future, not very far away. i'm the president. i've been wanting a promotion for a long time. i just gave myself one. governor, your my chief of staff. it's 7:00 in the the white house. good morning, governor. >> good morning,.th president. >> good to see you this morning mr. president. working at the white house is an interesting thing. it's a phenomenal place. crisis today. europe has not been going well.
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we've been watching the global news channel. let's take a look at what we're seeing. >> in this00 public opposition to european budget austerity has turned violent. there's growing opposition to last month's steel to preserve the currency. they demand that budget cuts and tax hikes be rescinded. more street pro tes in lisbon. counter protest in berlin. the rising discord could signal market volatility. european stocks have tumbled on reports. the rest of the austerity package may be in jeopardy. all eyes are in wall street where trading begins in three hours. and governor in three hours we have a meeting here at the white house. we're going to have a budget
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meeting. a bipartisan budget meeting because we still don't have a budget. and they're going to -- those reporters are going to scream at me. they're going to want a sound bite. what do i say? >> i say mr. president, we've got to improve our ties with two sectors republicans and the business community. what we need to do -- what i think you should do which will send a very positive message is say that we are going to move forward and follow the guidelines of the simpson-bowls act. >> that doesn't soubd like a sound bite. >> farai is the leading progressive blogger in america. i mean, millions of people read you every day. you're going to -- you're covering the white house today. and you're going to come into that photo op. what are you going to ask? what are you going to shout? >> mr. president, are you willing to advocate you yo
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dependency? many others have been force to cut social programs. so what's your response? >> [laughter] what we need to do, is, mr. president, you need to address the nation tonight. and we need to send a clear message that we're going to get our fiscal house in order, that we are going to find ways to balance the budget, that we're going to be inclusive, that we're going to find ways also this year to recognize that economic issues are not to be dealt with alone. we need a comprehensive energy policy, we need immigration reform. you have one year -- talk about your legacy. you have one year where we're going have enormous moment tomb get things done. >> you're my domestic policy advisor.
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boy, that's a mouthfulful is that what i should say in >> the thing that i would agree with the chief of staff because i want to agree with the chief of staff. >> he's your boss. >> bill, i think -- i think, you know, what's important for us is to argue for stability. it's important for europe to be stable. global growth is a critical element to u.s. growth going forward. so i do think that we do have to show strength and make a case for european stability. europe breaking a part is a challenge and we these things are related. we need to have sensible budgetses in the united states. we need to have responsible long-term deficit reduction. but we're having a bipartisan plan and the important thing to argue in that bipartisan group is we need everyone to come to the table, revenues and -- >> and we're all going to hold hands and sing "kumbaya."
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>> senator thompson, you are the minority leader and you are passionate about the fact that this government is spending too much. you get on the phone with your college and you say that she's going to be there and she's going to ask those questions. and you call your friend there. what do you say? >> what do you think i should say? [laughter] and make it short. >> america is not on the brink. the american economy remains stable. the american economy remains solid. what we're seeing in europe is a forecast of what would happen if we don't get things in order but it is not a basis to panic today and we shouldn't be selling >> so what are you going to
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say? >> i'm going to say that sounds mighty good to me. and i might add that europe's an important trading partner. it's probably going to have some effect on us and our economy. it's just another head wind that we face in dealing with our own problems but just another -- another indicator that we're going to have to clean-up our own act in terms of spending more money than we have in order to avert the things you're seeing going on in the streets of europe. >> carly, you're part of the gathering, the brain trust. your not sure you're going to get much of a word in edgewise because you've got all these senators and people in the room. but you represent business. one line to the president, what sit? >> we have to focus on growth and job creation. simplify the tax code which will create growth for big business and small business.
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we have to be careful that we don't create the kind of structural rigidity that causes europe to bleed jobs which is part of their problem right now. but ultimately, it cannot be a future of austerity alone. it has to be a future focused on growth and creating more jobs. >> we're going to leave this white house meeting now. i've had about enough of this. i'm not president anymore. and we're going to go to a place where they can't just have meetings and they just can't kick the can down the road. we're going to go to striver city. striver city is a great place, hard working americans, been a bit under the gun in the last several years with this economy going down. and representative ridgele and representative edwards, you are congressional members representing two sides east and west of striver city. you are different parties. republican, democrat.
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you also represent the environments. here's the problem going on in striver city. the earth warm tractor factory employs 1,200 people. earth worms have been in trouble for a while now. and there's another plant not too far away in mountain way. an earthworm mayor has been telling you for a while we're going to have to close one of these plants. 1,200 jobs if your plant closes are going to go away. you convene a conference call mayor because you're calling washington now. have this call with your representatives. what are you going to do especially with this tumult in europe because a third of earth worms stuff gets exported to europe and now europe is in meltdown. -- meltdown? >> well, we really need have a focus to make sure that our city in particular doesn't
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suffer from job depletion. we have had 10% unemployment during the recession. we're slowly getting out of it. my main concern as mayor is that the budget cutting that you're talking about from washington is going to haved a adverse effect on our city and our attempts to recover from the recession -- >> an earthworm. >> that is really a tough situation. that employs a huge segment of people and i need help from washington. sometimes the local government can't do it all. >> so have the conversation with them specifically about what you want them to do to help you save earthworm. >> well, what earthworm wants from us is really tax credits from washington so that they can pay less in taxes. they want to have a training program because they don't feel that our city has enough qualified workers. and so we need a job training program. and i think both of those requests are pretty reasonable but i need help from washington on both. >> well, mayor iorio, i really
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appreciate you pulling this call together. some -- putting this call together. some friends are hurting. i think we've been leading by example and what needs to be done in washington and that's working together to advance sound policy, the common ground that we've been able to find based on common facts, the things that we know both as democrats and republicans that would lead to job creation and specifically with respect to the factory. i'm working right now with the congresswoman advance legislation that would give us the type of international financing to be competitive. >> well, you know, mayor, you reminded us and i appreciate that -- you reminded us that what happens in europe has a direct impact in even our smaller communities here in our congressional district. it's been great to work with the congress. it seems me that the kinds of
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things that earthworm needs job training are thing that are appropriate from the federal government to be able to provide resources for. it also seems that we're getting a lot of pressure from our colleague who are wondering why in the world do we have noig do with europe. they're going to hell in a hand basket. and you reminded us in the story that we have to tell our colleagues about how connected we are to what's happening in europe but we're not europe. and so we can do some things on job training. it seems on the short-term too we're going to have employees that are going to need -- >> i'm going to intrude on this conference call because you're having a very strong conversation. you know what's happening in true plant, the mayor is offering straight tax breaks right out of the city budget. will you do that? >> well, mountain way is higher up. and we don't have that kind of money in our budget.
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that's why i'm imploring our representatives from that side. we can't always offer city to city -- >> you're going bail out? >> you're going have to work with some difficult issues with represent to the wage differential. as tough as it is we're going have to help the management and the wonderful staff there, the employment and the folks that are building these quality products to make sure that they understand that they need to be competitive not only with europe but also with other cities an other states. i mean this is an essential part of a competitive environment and ultimately it's best for america. but it's tough -- >> help me out because i want to know what it is that you think you do because then i think that helps us figure out what it is that we can do? >> ma there's -- there's a lot that we've done to help this company. they have analyzed our
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workforce and really feel we don't have the right labor market and that's where the job training needs to come in. they feel they're paying too much in taxes which is a mixture of federal, state and local. my concern is that from washington we hear a lot about budget cutting and i don't want the moneys for specifically for job training to go because that's been very helpful to our municipality over the years. we've used it for decades. it's money that comes directly from the federal government -- >> so you're saying the city can't help them? >> oh, no. no. >> you could cut -- you could cut your police force a little bit. you could cut your teachers a little bit. you could cut the road, you know, the road repaving a little bit. maybe you don't fix the sidewalk for a little bit. you've been a governor, right? sche do some -- mountain way's going to. >> i think i would -- as governor and this is a small state that we have. we can't afford to lose these 1200 jobs. so as governor, what i will say
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to the mayor is i will suspend state taxes for a certain person of time. i will try to find capitalization in the state budget to help you keep these jobs because we can't afford to make that happen. i would say to our congressional delegation very able bipartisan delegation, you know, if there's one message that you've got take to washington is as a governor, i've got to balance the budget. every state does or i go to jail. what would help -- >> if it happens, we will visit you there. >> but you've got to find a way to bring some fiscal discipline at the federal level. what i don't want is just the department of commerce coming in and bailing us out with job training funds and funds to tell us what to do when we lose our job for retraining. we want to keep these jobs. >> so as a president of
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earthworm, ultimately -- >> actually you're president of the company that holds earthworm -- >> ok. >> you're the big boss. business decision making frequently happens on a different time scale than political decision making. and we're faced with a near and present need to make a decision, demand has plummeted. we need to pick one of these sights, consolidate into a single sight and sadly, unfortunately, we're going to have to lay off people. the reason i bring that up is because a job training program that might get into legislation that might or might not get voted on at some point in the future doesn't fit my time frame. so in the end what i'm going to do is go to first the mayor's, then the governor's because they react a bit more quickly. i'm going to layout where i'm
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getting the best deal, not just for the short-term -- >> and if she doesn't do the -- if she can't give you the tax breaks that you need, what will you do? >> i will go to the other city, presuming that they give me both the right job training environment, the quality of the work sfors incredibly important -- >> and you'll -- >> i just want to ask the c.e.o., though, what is your plan to deal with the, you know, with the workers? there's a work noors' been committed and dedicated -- >> absolutely. and that's why our severance packages are among the best in our industry. >> so they're good for a month, six weeks. >> no, no, actually not. they're good for several months. six to nine months. obviously, unemployment helps if there is job training that helps these people to retrain -- we will relocate people if they're willing to relocate. >> jim fallows, famous jim
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fallows writes for the "striver city review." it's a great publication both on the newsstands. fewer now but also online. "the striver city review" polled striver city residents. you are all striver city residents. so pick up your hand held devices. you've been following this story. and you've written a lot about this, right? this is happening all over america. you've been writing about this? >> too much. >> it is a fact, folks, a fact that more jobs, three million jobs have gone overseas in the past several years. here's the question for you. striver city has some tough decisions to make. if you have to reduce spending to make these tax breaks strible this client, would you take him out of education, out of roads and infrastructure, out of fire and law enforcement, would you do it just across the board or would
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you do none of the above and just, i guess, let the plant -- let economics take it wherever it goes? what's the story here, jim? >> the story is to help the people in the city, the state and the country understand a larger process that we're a part of. we understand there are different things happening. there are crises in europe. and you to deal with that. europe have different ones than here. they have big problems. they have social rigidity about economic change which is what we're discussing. so i would try to make people in our city understand what was the story of how we came here, what are the options we have realistically to help this city grow? >> so what is the story you're writing? >> i'm writing stories short-term. what is the decision that the chairman of the earthworm is making, what are the political figures doing?
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but i'm also helping people in the city understand where are we in the flow of history and choices and how do the decisions we make now eafect us next week and five years from now. >> let's see how the people of striver city voted in your public opinion survey. wow. nobody wants cuts out of education, mayor. a lot of people say across the board and you've got a quarter of your population saying none of the above. how do you make a decision with that? or do you? >> well, it's a tough decision. and here's a little bit of the history too. because when earthworm came to us 12 years ago, we gave the land for the construction of the factory -- >> you gave them the land -- >> we gave them the land. we waved impact fees so that they didn't have to pay them at the time. we've done everything to integrate them into the community and have helped them in every way. the problem comes is when they say it's not a viable business interest and they want to move to another city, where does it end for us? >> what are you going do? >> where does it end?
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that's my dwow the c.e.o. -- >> no, no, no, no, no. what are you going to do? >> well-i'd like to talk -- well, i'd like to talk to mrs. earthworm because there may be borrowing underneath because really we have given a great deal over the years an you've been a great part of the community. so the bottom line doesn't work in our community and off to another one. theand we're just pitted one american city against another american city and how does that help the economy of the state? >> well, of course -- >> go ahead, senator. >> i'm the business consultant. [laughter] >> that's what unemployed senators do. >> i'm the business consultant that's working this problem. and i say to mrs. earthworm, i've seen this movie before. the last time it was called general motors. everything was done to keep general motors afloat to keep the jobs and nothing was done
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to deal with the reality that general motors wasn't selling enough cars. and ultimately the federal government stepped in. general motors went through bankruptcy. and all of their obligations were dissolved at a very substantial number of their employees lost their jobs. and then the president of the united states was delightful to be able to -- delyinged to be able to say, i saved general motors. i can tell you this factory is not economically viable no matter what the mayor does or what the congress does in an attempt to keep it viable by public money and public effort is only going to be greater challenges and difficulties down the road. >> all right. we're going to -- [applause]
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>> we'll come back to washington, i mean to striver city. we're going to leave striver city and come back to washington. senator bennett, congressman rigell, senator thompson, two other republican house colleagues, two colleagues from the house of caucus. you are -- you spend a lot of time together. you're pretty comfortable with one another. in fact, you have a great a cappella group, the capital canaries. >> senator, you want to hum a few bars for us? >> i sing bass. >> but today you've gotten together for your rehearsal and after you sang, there's another song you come to. and this song is something that you're also watching close in striver city because this senate has passed the budget, right here in washington city. the senate passed the budget. there's a problem.
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the senate budget is very heavy on protecting spending. because it's democrat controlled and programs. the house budget, meanwhile, has a much stronger emphasis on cutting spending. now, unless the two of you guys, the house and senate get together and figure this out, there's this thing called sequester. no budget, automatic spending cuts right across the board. a colleague comes to you and says, senator, i think this sort of thing is the only thing we've got. and this is the biggest problem we face. are you with me? can we threat happen? say yes or no. >> yes or no. [laughter] i never have to answer yes or no to anything. can we threat happen? >> well, yes, we can.
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>> i -- i -- i can't let that just stand, senator. even if one holds the view that defense spending should come down, this is not the way we should do it. even a violent reduction of spending, congresswoman edwards and i work together. . there are some common facts that are known. spending has to come down a bit. revenues have to come up a bit both through growth and tax reform. this is the path forward but se quest tration should be avoided because it hurts national defense. >> senator? yes or no? >> no. se quest tration is the dumbest way to allocate federal resources that i can think of. there are some areas -- -- there are some areas where i'm a republican, but i can say it. we need to increase spending. and it may well be that some of them are in survivor city.
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>> not according to you, man. you're just like cut it off at the knees. >> there are other areas where we need to cut spending more than the se quest tration number and that's what the congress is for. and the congress should not forfeit its responsibilities to a single number automatically set across that ignores -- >> so you would give up your leverage because that's the leverage you've got to get spending cuts. >> i'm more interested in my leverage than solving the problems of the country. >> senator thompson -- >> i didn't suggest that i thought it was a good idea. but obviously it's an option. >> here's a fact about this -- the fact if se quest tration were to happen, 8% from agriculture and fema, a billion dollars from special education.
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$3 billion from the pentagon's defense sfund. $7 billion from army operations. and earthworm does some work for the defense department. so earthworm could get hurt in this, couldn't it? >> that's right. the number one function of the federal government is to keep the people safe and representing the highest concentration of men and women in uniform, i can tell you that these cuts are irresponsible even if i believe we should reduce federal spending. it hurts job creation. there's a better path forward. and we should reduce it over time not over night. >> go ahead. >> there's no question about what he says it's true about the defense cuts. the secretary of defense said it would be catastrophic to let sequester hit the military for half a trillion -- >> but you still think it's an option -- >> half a trillion dollars.
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let me put the other side to you. i should add too that sequester doesn't do anything about the greatest underlying problem with regard to spending. and that has to do with the expansion of the welfare state and entitlement programs and things like that. we know that's where the money is. what the sequester does is take the money out of nondefense discretionary spending. and as bob says we all love infrastructure. we like schools, state parks. so that's why it's not a good idea. let me balance just for the moment the other side of the coin. we've adds $6 trillion to a debt over the last three or four years. >> it is a fact that that our fact that our debt is $16 trillion. >> what did you say? >> you added it. >> and the total is about $16.4 trillion. the glide path on those
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entitlements is unsustainable. we have demonstrated time and time again that recently, anyway, we're not able to come together to address those kinds of issues. so if they can -- if those opposing sequester come to the table and say we're not willing to give any on the underlying issues that really long-term is going to make us a success or a failure as a nation, you can't take se quest tration off the table. >> how are the capital canaries doing? >> i think the capital canaries are doing well. and i would have been one of the optimisms in that poll sadly outnumbered. am i still chief of staff? >> not only are you still chief of staff, but you've convened a meeting of your domestic policy advisor, and your very close from from the congress. and you are now trying to figure out what do you do, what
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does the president do if that falls an these budget cuts happen in a week? have the meeting. >> all right. no, what i would say is, look, we have got to convene a group of political leaders from both parties. i would say, you know, mr. president, there are some republicans -- >> you're talking to them. you're having a meeting. >> well, but i have something to say to the senators here. i would say, you know, mr. president, in bill clinton's days we balanced the budget, we had economic growth, we passed a lot of significant legislation because we were bipartisan. i'd say, you know, in fact, mr. president, when i was secretary of energy, two of the most far reaching energy initiative, one was an environmental initiative that saved the moab in utah. it transferred funds to native
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americans. transferred lands to native americans. it cleaned up huge nuclear waste and there was also a bill in the department of energy that to all our cold war workers that had been contaminated, we resolved the problem. and i say to the president, you know who did that? i said there was a senator from tennessee, his name was fred thompson who passed that bill, a worker protection bill. and there was a senator from utah that passed that moab environmental bill. so what we need to do, mr. president, is be bipartisan and it can be done. and we have to bring the business community. we have to -- i think we need to have job creation, have the private sector -- >> i don't want to interrupt you but i'm going to. i know for certain that i have republican colleagues who do believe that se quest ser a good idea.
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and they think it's irresponsible. and we agree with them. and so then the question is, what is it that we can put on the table because it's all about a deal? i'm about as left as those centers get. but i understand this is about making a deal. i think for example we have some who say well the major drivers the things like medicare. and frank, i want to put a fact on the table. the fact is that medicare costs have risen just these last three years, 3.2%. other health care costs, 4%. and so actually we've done a lot over the last three years to begin to send those numbers down. what's doing that? it's focusing on things like quality and not quantity. we also have to balance it with spending. we know that some of our colleagues because they've gone roads and bridges in their district want to spend on -- >> this is a great meeting but you're all giving speeches. you've got a decision to make. the president has to do something. >> let me say, this is -- i'll
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act like it's an actual white house meeting. you know, i love the talk of the 1990's. but these are not the 1990's. these are different times. congress is much more polarized bill, you know that as well as i do. the fact is question have long negotiates. we have to get a meeting together and negotiate about the sequester. we have a position on these issues which is we need a balanced profe. we've said we need ref news. so the question is are we trying to go into a meeting and say we're willing to enough some savings on the table. question have some reductions in, medicare that doesn't affect beneficiaries, etc. and actually get revenue on the table. and do you think they'll negotiate on something like that. because the issue is we can -- we've been trying on bipartisan. we all think we should be bipartisan. it would be great if they were. but there are forces that are pulling apart and we need to actually --
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>> it's your job, man. >> i'm from the state. i'm a governor, all right? and i see all this washington stuff. they can't get along. there's no bipartisan. there's -- you know, weapon can't make deals. i have to as governor work with my legislature to balance the budget. it is constitutional. why can't the federal government do the same? and i'm not giving a speech. what i'm saying the i have seen bipartisan agreements. i don't know if these senators were part of that under first president george bush. there's a bipartisan budget agreement. it involved more revenues. it probably cost president bush the first, the election. but i believe that rather than have sequestering fiscal cliff that men and women can sit around a room and negotiate and get things done and that's what's not happening here. >> all right. >> people can't get that.
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>> that's why you can't have the sequester. let's come back to striver city. you're from striver city. you're the c.e.o. >> this is earthworm. doesn't sound as good as mr. president. [laughter] >> you make more. you've been listening to this conversation going on, mayor, in washington. is it helping you? >> no. what's the connection? >> as a business person, i think of two things when i hear this conversation. the first is that the most obvious and necessary reform that we have to make for job creation, for competitiveness and yes for a balanced approach is lower the tax rates and close the loopholes, lower every rate, close every loophole so there's no negotiation. it would produce revenue. it would help small businesses
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because the tax code is so complicated, they can't get through it. and as a c.e.o. i worry about little businesses because they are my source of supplies of innovation of -- they create most jobs. so lower the rate, close the loopholes, simplify the code. the other thing is running a business, imagine that the federal government or business for a moment and every single department have had its budget increased for almost 50 years. every single department has had its budgets increased every year for almost 50 years. and oh by the way no one asks how you spent the money. in fact, we make a habit of spending the money as fast as we can in august so that we use it all up. business would go out of business that way. there's so much inefficiency. >> i'm an assistant principal
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in striver city. >> i thought you were a reporter. >> i was just repurposed. >> it's all that job retraining. >> congratulations. >> not congratulations because if you close your plant, i'll probably lose my job. families are going to move out of on the. if you look at the trend in public employment, they're really grim. i want to educate children. so, you know, you have to realize you're hurting people here. >> ok. hold it. hold it. >> nothing would please me more truly than being able to keep both of these plants open, both of which are in american cities as you described the situation. >> so clearly -- >> nothing would please me more. i believe a c.e.o.'s job is to balance the interest of shareholders, employees, communities -- >> mayor -- mayor, things are not going very well in striver
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city. >> no, no, they're not. and i would ask the senators to listen to mayors because the mayors are close toast the public. they're in the neighborhoods every single day. and they have a balanced budget. and they have to make decisions every day about how to prow vide the needed services. but you know, we started with the austerity in spain and people riding and so forth. those austerity measures pushed those folks over the brink, right? 24% -- >> i'm glad you raised that because we're going to go back to your -- >> so don't washington make the same mistake with your across the board cuts. don't make the kinds of cuts that hurt people. >> can i just be the n.e.c. director. >> for 10 seconds. >> i have to say as the economic advisor now to the president an hearing these arguments from business about lowering tax rates, these are the kinds of things -- and closing loopholes, these are the kinds of things that i think in a sense tend to ignore
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the issues which is really when we say closing loopholes deductions what that means is you're going to hit middle income families. either you're going hit higher income families or lower income families. >> hold the thought because -- that's what i was talk about. lower the rates, close the loopholes. >> in striver city, you've been watching the news closely. you're watching it now. what you're about to sigh is really going to -- see is really going to take your breath away. >> a marathon emergency summit is underway among european finance ministers to stabilize the e. urment. but anti-austerity protests appear to be spreading across western europe. in spain, greece and italy there are reports of looting and street violence. leaders are calling to restore
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european confidence. at stake is the you yo -- euro currency itself. in the midwestern city of mountain way a major bridge has collapsed. there was no apparent warning when the aging steel span gave way during the morning commute. at least 10 vehicles and their passengers plunged 200 feet into the surging humble river. rescue streams been dispatched to the scene. >> mayor, this is terrible because mountain way is not far from you. >> no, it's not. and your phones are ringing before this is even over. and what you've been told grabs you by the gut because five of those cars were from a wedding party and the bride is from your city, striver city. jim fallow, ironically you wrote this story months ago. pothole nation. >> actually true. >> what is the story? >> as news people we're covering this in all the
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different layers. there's the tragedy, what about the wedding and the families and the bridge on st. louie ray . but the larger story is what we've learned is we've recognized in telling the stories that unfortunately, the american public is prodded into large changes by tragedies or crises of one kind or another that we have a hard time dealing with slow boiling problems but we can respond when there's a crisis. this becomes part of the crusade of our publication which is going international. >> and one of the facts that you observed in your story jim fallow. one of the facts that you observed is that in the united states of america today, more than 11,000 bridges are in need of structural repair. the american society of civil english near estimates it would -- engineer estimates it would cost $1 trillion to bring bridges, road, the electrical
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grid, our critical infrastructure to make a world class nation. >> that was in my story. and what our story is making a campaign -- we've had dramatic illustration. the west coast it's 1950's. it's time to rebuild this. and then we can talk about all the things that would come from that. >> mayor, have the conversation. what does this mean for your community? >> historically we've received quite a bit of money -- >> call him. >> representative, thank you for some of the stimulus money that we received a few years ago. that helped a great deal. >> would you like the phone? >> i could just talk. i really appreciate that last -- the stimulus money that helped. but just in our striver city, we have a backlog of nearly a billion dollars.
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and that doesn't even include mountain way and the surrounding areas. >> for what? >> for roads, bridges, wastewater street. plants. our public housing was built in the 1940e's, 1950's. hates to be replaced. we -- it has to be replaced. i'm concerned that through this budget-cutting process we're not going to receive the kinds of support that we've received in the past. >> madam mayor, the fact sk this current tax code that we've been under for 12 years yields 16.9% and weapon haven't run our country on that since 1959. >> 16.59. >> g.d.p. that's the fact. i wasn't born then. medicare and medicaid were six years out. and i've told my plunl colleagues that revenue has to come up both in growth and also through tax reform. i've rejected the american surtax reform pledge because it's not right for our country.
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and i've told our democratic colleagues that i need some help on spending but there is common ground with respect to infrastructure. this is common ground. we've got to informs on infrastructure. i'm going to work with my democratic colleagues to advance that. what are you showed there is the best advertisement for entitlement reform that you could possibly show. that's a very interesting point. because here's what happens at mountain way at the memorial service. it's tragic and there's a lot of grief. mountain way is absolutely grief stricken. but many of you attend this. and you see a deficit hawk across the room huddled with somebody who has been arguing for serious infrastructure reform. and as their talking about -- this is -- we're done with this. we have got to do something for the long haul. we've got to do something big
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here. have the conversation, senator bennett, carly, senator thompson, representative edwards, have the conversation. what is the big deal that could come out of this to fix america? >> as i said when i railed against sequestration there are areas where we need to have spending go up and this is clearly one of them. but as senator thompson has pointed out, and as your austerity street demonstrations in europe demonstrate, entitlements are squeezing everything out. and you've got to sit down and say, you know, i know a senator from the utah who wrote a memo to the president of the united states after he got elected and said this is a nixon goes to china moment for you. >> which senator from utah would this have been? >> the junior senator. >> which president would this have been? >> the newly elected one.
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>> i see. >> instead this is the nixon goes to china moment for you. because if you can be the first democratic president in history to say we have to do something about entitlements, you can build enough political capital that you can then do whatever you want in health care or environment or energy or anything else. >> so there's momentum building for something big? something to solve the problem. i want to hear you talking to one another about what that would be. >> the business community, i believe, let me just say would applaud this. in fact, if we knew that there was a real bipartisan push for infrastructure spending, it might help us keep two factories open. however -- >> really? >> absolutely. because it would be -- it would be work. it would be work. we need tractors. we need things. but i would say two things so that it is not like the former
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stimulus or some of the dollars helped but frankly everyone would admit most of the dollars were wasted. two things have to be different this time. one, it has to be a public-private partnership from the outset where business is engaged. earthworm, we need you. we need you. and second, there has to be accountability, meaning what projects are going to get built? when are they going to get built? how much is it going cost? >> i want to hear you talking to, democrats an republicans. -- and plunts. >> i don't think the stimulus money was wasted. i just don't think we need enough of it on infrastructure. that's something we actually could do. we co do it through an infrastructure financing bank. there are a lot of different ways. and we know that it creates jobs. i'm worried about your plant in mountain way because i'm
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concerned that now goods are not going to be able to get across a bridge which is going to compel -- >> she calls her republican friend on the hill. have a conversation about what this big deal to rebuild america's infrastructure might actually look like. how would you go about it? how would you pay for it? be specific. >> yeah, i would like to applaud the congressman for his balanced view and his approach and that he's recognized the need for a balanced plan where you can have revenue as well as savings as that's how you can go get infrastructure. i do think we have a big challenge which is there are a lot of folks in your party who want to address large scale entitlement savings. and i think there are two plains people are operating off of. conk edwards raised this before and i know you two worked so well together which is that we really have -- there's a lot of
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focus on entitlement savings but well actually have a health care challenge which is medicare just so we all understand is cheaper per beneficiary than private insurance. so the thing that's actually growing in our entitlement area is the fact that we have medical inflation, national health care costs are driving our costs. now unfortunately, republicans and democrats who had agreed on past control measures couldn't come together in affordable care act and agree in the past. but i would actually hope that republicans and i hope that the congressman could organize republicans in some way to address lowering health carol costs that will drive savings and medicare -- dash won't hit beneficiaries but will address i. >> is that your proposal to fix the bridges? >> that's a way that you can have significant savings so that you can get money. as a domestic policy advisor,
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we have lowest interest rates ever. we're going to make these investments in the future. it's smartest to make these infrastructure investments now when we need to jobs. >> i appreciate the president having this the other day. the one question i didn't get to ask the president is this is that mr. president, can you show us specifically how you would address entitlement spending. we do have the republican plan. you may not like it. please don't vilify it. don't question the motives of what we're trying to do but instead provide an alternative that can be compared side by side. i'm glad that we're able to have this privately than at the microphones. if you can help us here to work with us and show that we're going to close this gap borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, i will find the remaining funds to get $2 billion over a two or three year period for infrastructure. this is common ground. i'm sure of it. >> i completely agree that. but i would say -- you know, i
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appreciate that we don't want people to go to the microphones. i'm always for that. but i think one of the issues that we have to deal with is that there is a real passion about these sets of issues because the people are economically hurting. and the response here fortune natly not from you but other members of the party say we have to go after entitlements -- >> so here's what starts to emerge from these conversations. -- the outline of a big deal. a major infrastructure package in return for major entitlement reform, maybe even considering putting up the some suggested it anyway in these conversations putting up the age of maybe concluding -- maybe including increasing the gasoline tax say you have some extra money. >> that is the definition of a no-brainer in terms of constructive policy.
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gas goes up and down by a large margin every year. if he could cap some of that infrastructure, it would be great. >> infrastructure, and tandem reform, gas tax -- entitlement reform, gas tax. who's in? >> i might be. >> no. >> i'm in. >> i will consider it. if the close of the deficit, i'm in. -- if it closes the deficit, i'm in. >> depends on your definition of entitlement reforms. you get into what those words really mean, and you begin to see that is not reform.
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>> there is nothing in the plan that asks everyone to pay -- there is nothing that asks the wealthy to be part of the solution. >> what we have here is a disagreement as to the basic problem. we are still hearing talk about tax on the wealthy. we just got some tax on the wealthy. it will pay for about a week of running the federal government. if we confiscated everyone's income that make over 250,000 north, it pays for one year of the deficit. i am just saying, if we brought it down to what the president wanted to bring it down to. the medicare situation, the social security situation, medicaid, the congressional budget office and everybody taking a look at it basically said it is not sustainable.
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the trajectory, there is no way around it. it was hit on just a minute ago, when someone said was concern, it cannot do that without taxing the middle class. exactly. if it cannot agree on the nature of the problem, whether it is high income people paying for all of this, and there is really no medicare -- bad trajectory here, it is just other costs and so forth. then what is going to happen is that there is going to be a massive middle-class tax increase. a gasoline tax is one of those options. >> a consumption tax. >> a carbon tax. howard dean is always candid. he said everybody needs to pay more tax.
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>> let's hear what you think about this. gasoline tax is a no-brainer. has not gone up in 20 years. i am going to put this question up for you to ask, what do you think of a gasoline tax, and remember this could happen over time, no increase in gas? 25 cents per gallon? 50 cents per gallon, 75 cents per gallon? $1 a gallon? the money mostly would go directly to repair america's critical infrastructure. while they are voting, senator bennett. >> you don't have my number. >> what is your number? 15 cents. >> let's go back just for a moment. i agree, it is really important
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that we deal with facts and that we deal with common facts. let me tell you about europe, as a business person. there are certain countries in europe, many of which are not in crisis, that are absolutely the last place you would ever put a new job. the reason they are the last place you would put a new job is because the rules are around labor are so stringent and so expensive, that you cannot afford to take a risk. but how else is europe characterized? very rigid labor laws that were designed to protect people. designed with the best motives in mind. second, an extremely high tax regime everywhere. third, a very high gasoline tax. fourth, huge entitlements. those are the four things that characterize europe today. it is not growing, unemployment among youth is 25% or higher.
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the streets are on fire because people now in crisis are trying to cut spending. so why in the u.s. would we decide, raise taxes, at a gasoline tax, not deal with entitlements, and by the way, make our labor issues more rigid than they currently are. why would we not go down that path? [laughter] >> i think you struck a nerve. >> i really mean that, because i am trying to understand. the top 1% of income earners in the country have seen significant -- increase in income, and everybody else, their income is squeezed and it is going down.
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how can we argue that we don't need to balance that out at the top? >> let's take that, ok? why have so many people gotten so well the in the last -- let's call it 5-10 years. investment income. why has investment income gone up? because the stock market today is one of the few investments left because the fed is printing money. yes, you absolutely can tax dividends. you can tax capital gains more, absolutely. >> i've got to say something, because you spoke about the basic tenets of european society. the basic one of american society has been a free market to capitalism. then why is your company always asking the government for something? [applause] >> i don't believe my company asks your government for anything other than we presented a dilemma, and it is a difficult dilemma.
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i don't appreciate being called cut throat, because people who run companies care deeply about their employees, about their customers, about the communities in which they live and work, and we make agonizing decisions every day as well. but we begin when you have only one place that you can put a plant, it can only put them in one place. the city's come to us. some of those cities say they want your plant so bad, we are willing to do something. some cities happen to be in ireland or spain or brazil. and then, as a business person, i have a choice. if i have only one factory to build, and two or three or four people are telling me to build it in their city, what am i going to do? i am going to make the best deal i can, because that is what i am asked to do. >> i can tell you, europe is a big place.
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when you look at germany right now, high taxes, tight internal regulations. >> i will tell you why germany is doing so much better, it is the euro. germany is an exporting country, and they export to their neighbors. it prevents their neighbors from devaluing their currency. >> where is the context for your numbers? i am sure you are not advocating borrowing 40 cents on the dollar. [indiscernible]
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>> i said they are in a crisis because of decades of certain policies. >> that have put together an unsustainable federation. >> put him back on my washington hat as we move along, one of the most successful theories on our blog has been this is where your money went. people in europe and the united states stand up with signs saying what kind of government money they get, whether it's health care, welfare. the one that went viral was the author of the harry potter books proudly standing with the dole in front of her. she and her family were supported by government benefits before she became a billionaire. should we not give everyone a chance? we are going to have more people who can either fall through the cracks or come back and be productive members.
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getting people to stand up and take pictures of themselves, if you look at those pictures, what you see is america. how do you deal with people who would fall through the cracks without some kind of benefits? >> i am curious that you would level that challenge at me. i think what that implies is you believe that business people, or maybe republicans don't care. if you assume that business people don't care or republicans don't care, there is no possibility of [indiscernible] the issue is what is going to work. not who cares more. >> let's bring back the public and see how people felt about that gasoline tax. a quarter in this room probably don't own cars. 33% say 25 cents.
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15% say 0. you are the national economic adviser and you've got people saying we've got to do this. this is a good way to do it. senator, you have constituents coming to you saying i may lose my job at this plant. i drive 30 miles each way as it is. i barely get by. are you crazy? what do you say? >> a gasoline tax is not the only way to have these and bridges and roads in the country. i think an infrastructure deal can be sold to this person as part of a bigger package. it has to be something that involves a reasonable length of time for a balanced budget goal.
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i think it could involve tax reform. you keep talking about revenue. the money to be raised now, the real money is something about $16 trillion, is in the middle class. if you want to take them out of it, i think you could do tax reform. you could do a lot of things and simplify and report it without raising the rates on anybody. the new can have some kind of a moderate engagement with regard to entitlements. one proposal has been, don't do anything to people over the age of 55. means testing, where the rich will pay a little bit more, but the idea that we can continue the way we are going without touching the benefits that anybody, even those younger than
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55, just as not hold water. >> here is what is going to happen. these conversations about the big deal have been contentious. that have stumbled on every political land mine out there. you have debated who's got the money, who should pay the taxes, whether the wealthy have gotten off scot-free, whether you will really get serious about cutting the growth of health care costs, but you have been having the conversation. they have been confidential. this blogger is good. she gets word that these conversations are happening. that is remarkable big deal is
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being kicked around. they might put up taxes and make a big cut out of these entitlements. you get that lead. would you write that story? >> if i could source it, i would write it. but because i am a partisan blogger, i also start a petition. >> what is your headline? >> the polite one for company? deep doo-doo. >> you hear that she has got this story. she has not written it, but it appears she has got it. you know that these conversations have been going on because they have been confidential. what do you have to say? >> i would say our country is in a crisis, and this is the moment to act.
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american people are ready for the truth. they are ready for solutions and they are ready for leadership. i deeply believe this. i think the evidence does not support our position. it is appealing on the surface, but revenues have to rise. this can be proven empirically. it is the conservative view, as i see it, and expenses have to come down. and people are ready for this. they understand it. the american people are smart. if they will slow down and stop watching some of that game shows and everything else and really look at the substance of what is going on here. >> did you ask her not to write her story? >> no, i think it is time to put the facts on the table. we cannot stay on this trajectory. >> here is the news. >> europe's economic future remains in stalemate.
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several european banks have warned of liquidity crises, the finance officials plead for calm and will be meeting with the u.s. treasury secretary, who has been dispatched to europe. meanwhile, in the u.s., stocks opened higher. the package would reportedly include a massive program to rebuild and repair the country's aging infrastructure. talks in washington are said to be at a critical point. >> the story is out, mr. chief of staff. governor, what does the president say now? >> what the president should say when he sends the secretary of the treasury to europe is ok, there has been enough posturing, and obviously cannot tell our allies what to do, but the problem in europe has been that all we have as solutions is austerity measures, spending cuts.
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what is needed in europe is a combination of spending cuts and the stimulus program. and the problem has been that germany has taken the lead -- i am not blaming germany, but that has been the posture of chancellor merkel. they want to see significant spending cuts. they want to see them in spain and greece. this is what i tell secretary geithner. the time has come, since our economies are connected, for there to be a positive movement in the european crisis, but then i think these budget negotiations, which are not based on simply -- based on human beings and republicans and democrats getting together. i think it is very doable and possible. one thing we have ignored at
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this meeting, there was an election that just happened, and the message of the election, i believe, is guys, women, you've got to get together, or there is going to be a third party. >> that is one of the reasons we have been having these conversations. >> but it is out now. it is on the cable channels, on the radio, online, in print. what happens now? >> i say i want to get on television with some facts. [laughter] here are few that have come out of this conversation. 16.9% of gdp, that is not because tax rates went down. it is because the economy went down. tax rates -- there is no revenue. [indiscernible]
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in the years before the collapse, the income as well over 18% of gdp. >> it has been over 18% twice. two years where the economy was clearly over heated. >> this sounds like the two of you on a cable show. >> my question to you is, what happens when this -- [indiscernible] >> when this move into the public realm? >> the problem is driven not by the government but by democrats. we are seeing a massive wealth transfer from workers to retirees, and the retirees are growing as a percentage of the population, while the workers are shrinking as a percentage of the population.
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that is not sustainable. that is the problem in europe, and you cannot change the demographics. as the birth rate falls and the life expectancy increases. i am with you on immigration. if i had known you were going to do this, i would have the exact numbers. in 2012, social security paid out $770 billion. medicare and medicaid paid out $720 billion. we were at war in afghanistan, and the defense department paid out $629 billion.
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that is what the demographic numbers are doing to us. and we have to recognize that. one last shot. you talk about the rich. ok, i will confess here, personal numbers. i am still working. i am paying $20,000 a year in social security tax. i am drawing $41,000 a year in social security benefits. the minute i stop working, the $40,000 keep coming in, only goes up every year. why does warren buffett, why will oprah winfrey not have to draw the same social security benefits from the 1930's? why can we not say go ahead and work and pay in the program, but if you have so many assets, we will shave off the level of your payments. [applause] >> and then the wealthy would
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be paying more. absolutely. >> my sense is now that this is public and everybody is going on all these talk shows, this conversation is all over the place. >> we need the president. if i have this conversation and it is out there, here is what happens. my friends in organized labor, my friends in the environmental movement, my friends who work on poverty and sustainable programs, i need a president in this conversation so he can legitimize it so we can actually come to an agreement. >> tell the chief of staff, the economic adviser and see what you get.
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>> i need the president to lay out what he believes a balanced approach is. it gives me a way to say i am with the president. i think my colleague needs to do the same thing, and give us all a place to go. >> i agree, the president needs to say what his principles are and where he stands on the plan. i think that is absolutely right. there are some people, i will say, that will say when the president takes a position, it hardens the other side. >> i will advise the president that he has to lay out these principles. i would do it at the state of the union.
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i would do it early, as i said, the first year is key. it is a legacy issue. this is the time when voters remember what happened in the election. this is the time to do immigration reform. >> would you have him take that position -- >> it is not just the congress woman. as democrats, moderate democrats. one of my host is the emergence once again, and i don't want to call these two guys moderates, but the emergence of a moderate republican party. needs to come back. if you look at the major environmental, highway legislation under eisenhower, it was always bipartisan, and it was moderate republicans and democrats that got it done.
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>> on something like this, as i understand the plan, he would have republican support coming out of the woodwork. it would be nixon going to china. these problems are so politically difficult, they would have been solved a long time ago if they were not. neither party can really afford to take the lead because they will be demagogued to death by the other party. it will take presidential leadership and bipartisan congressional leadership to get it done. every group in america, from the people who say you have to balance the budget in four months, every group in america, thousands of them will descend on washington. >> and the president is going to deal with it. i have just been given a note
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that the president is going to take his chief of staff, who is a master negotiator, just came back from north korea, and your mission, governor, should you decide to accept -- and actually, you don't have a choice. the president is dispatching you right now to capitol hill to go and try to negotiate this. and now you have to leave us, but you are leaving us to go to capitol hill. i want to thank you for being here with us this evening, and we will continue the conversation. [applause] governor, if you step off to the left here, your a chartered flight -- it is a long way from here to capitol hill. all this is going on. is now public. you have a great position and you are going to take a step to doing what the senators here and others have talked about.
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you will convene a town hall meeting and you will have bipartisan input. the senators are going to show up and you'll have a great gathering. some people are going to show up with signs saying don't touch my medicare. others will show up and say don't raise my taxes, because i can barely get by as it is. what are your opening remarks? >> we have a great history of getting along. everyone is passionate. everyone has different views, but in the and we do what is best for striver city. the town historian is going to be a little historical look at the fact that our country has always been passionate and has always disagreed, and that politics has always been a mess. we just happen to think that it is messier now than it has ever been, but that is just a lack of historical perspective. from the very beginnings, the
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constitutional convention, you can go to any point in our history and say, how in the world did we reach consensus and move forward? what we are debating today is really nothing new. it is just part of america. it is the best system in the world. while messy, it tends to work out, because people a ultimately do come to agreement. in our town hall meeting, you know what? we are going to leave as friends. it ultimately is going to get results, and that is the history of our country. >> you stand up and make your remarks, and a citizen stands and says, i understand you are considering this gasoline tax. if you raise my tax, i will not be able to buy food. i may not be able to buy my medicine because i cannot afford it. tell me now you will back down because this is a terrible idea.
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>> it is really hard to hear that. i am going to say to the citizen that i understand what you are experiencing and what you believe will happen, but let me explain to you how this is going to be better for the country, and that the jobs it is going to create, rebuilding the bridge that just collapsed, is going to enable you to pay for your medicine, to take care of your family. but unless we make those investments, we will not be able to do anything. >> senator bennett, someone stands and confronts you and says i hear you have been talking to people about putting up the eligibility age for retirement. i have worked all my life on the line, physical labor. i am 63 years old and i have terrible back pain. you are going to tell me i cannot get this until i am 67 or 70 years old? i don't have that nice, white
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collar job that you have. >> i am very sympathetic to that age group. [laughter] >> raising the age is a kind of simplistic approach that people who used to be on cnn talk about. >> i agree. [laughter] >> medicare is the best, frozen in time like a bad woody allen movie. medicare needs to be completely rewritten and around the way we practice medicine today, which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the way it was done in the 1960's. in the process of doing that, we can bring the cost of medicare down, not only for medicare but for private insurance that is always following medicare,
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because that is where most of the money is. >> and we have great bipartisan agreement. >> when medicare was signed into law in 1965, the typical american lived to about 70. today they live until about 78. health-care costs were roughly one-third as a measure of gdp as they are now. >> i am so glad we have so much bipartisan agreement. we can take steps to lower health-care costs. it is true, medicare is a growing part of the federal budget. it is also true that if we had the same -- it will take $500 billion over the next several decades. it dwarfs the amount of money. i believe in raising the retirement age because we believe you should retire when you are older. we also believe people are entitled to health care.
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when you raise medicare, you are actually increasing the cost on business. >> let's just ask the audience, for the sake of argument, let's see where people come in on this medicare issue. some suggest this as one way to go, as a realistic response to the changing demographics, living longer. the question up on your screen, how likely would be to support a big deal at that would include raising the eligibility for medicare? while they are voting -- >> you are just talking about medicare, not social security? >> this is just medicare. i think it is about time to bring this story to something of a conclusion.
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we have no real budget deal in washington. we have seen, tragically, what has happened to our infrastructure in a real crisis. we know the pressure is on business because you do have to make payroll at the end of the day. that is your job. we also know the social implications that all of this has. and this notion of a big deal, of doing something real, not just kicking the can down the road until march, the really fixing it. doing something big. it has gained some traction, at least in these confidential conversations. i am not going to tell you how the story ends. you tell me how the story ends. >> we also get another series call this is what i am willing to give up.
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some were willing to take less in terms of medical coverage. some are willing to give up a certain degree -- for example, a certain degree of reliance on taking care of parks. they say we will do it on a volunteer basis. people are willing to give things up as long as they get things in return. >> how do you think it ends? a great town hall meeting, but it was noisy. >> i agree with the mayor. looking back on american history, we have had lots worse problems than this.
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i had a woman come up to me in the middle of my campaign that said i have never been so frightened. this is the worst crisis america has ever been in. i said, would you like to have lived during the civil war? she had not thought of that. i said what about the beginning of the second world war? there was no guarantee we were going to defeat hitler or that britain was going to survive. it has become a cliche, but it has not been said here tonight, so i will be the one to say. my favorite quote from winston churchill, the americans can always be depended on to do the right thing, after they have exhausted every other possibility. the demographics are irreversible and will ultimately drive the right and the left to the reality that we have to make some kind of changes. >> you are our realist. how do you think this ends? >> of course, the honest answer is i don't know.
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what i worry about, and i really appreciate the reminder of history, because i think is really important, and we forget history too often. what i worry about is the trust deficit. if you look at every institution, business, congress, sports figures, the church -- it doesn't matter what it is. no one trusts the institutions that operate in our country. and congress is not doing so well. >> why does that matter? it matters because, for a society to be vibrant and grow and take risks and innovate, we not only need to like each other, we need to trust each other. i would be happy if we did not necessarily get a big deal this
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year, but what we got was a conversation where people did not call each other names, people did not assume that because we disagree, we care less than someone else, that people set all that aside and say really, honestly, let's trust people to be sincere actors and work towards a solution. >> congressman, how does this end? >> each generation of americans is faced with a series of problems, or one single problem that is seen at the time to be insurmountable. this is ours, the fiscal situation. but if we remember that we are first and foremost, and always, americans, and we elevate that and say we set aside a deep sense of partisanship -- if we are deliberate about reaching out to others, and we go with the facts, and i think the facts are clear, spending has to come down and revenues have to
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come up. if we agree upon those facts, and we believe in the american people, we will get through this, and we will meet our obligation for the next generation of americans. i am convinced we will do the right thing in the end. >> how does this end? >> the congressman is elected majority leader of the house. [applause] and we have a balanced plan because a large deal, with revenues as part of the deal, and we have entitlement savings. they do exactly what senator bennett argues, which is that it transforms the health-care system.
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we will go to each of these letters, sequestration, government shutdown, and the elected leaders will devise the smallest deal they can agree on to get through it, and we go to the next one. >> i think there are so many of us who are so tired of dealing in crisis. we just are. i would examine what i am willing to give up. i think about things like, could we may be negotiate prescription drug prices so we could bring those costs down? maybe instead of looking at eligibility age, we might be able to consider some others.
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i cannot say the word. then i would consider a gas tax as long as that was not a tax on the most vulnerable, but then you have to consider things like instead of raising retirement age, maybe we should look at lifting the income cap so we can maintain solvency, and then get the money we need to do the spending. >> and quickly go to this poll. i am just curious what people thought about medicare. how likely would you support a big deal that includes raising the eligibility age? look at that. >> let me give you the opposite scenario. can we handle a crisis?
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i think we can. i think we have proven that we can. i think about 9/11. i think about the impeachment that we all went through. there were some bipartisan moments there as to how to proceed. >> i was in the room. we wrote the bill. i was the senior republican when we wrote the bill. there was not a single partisan statement made by either side. >> the problem we are talking about here tonight is not yet seen to be a crisis. that is the problem. we are still debating over the basis of the problem, and the reason for the problem. so let me give you, as much as i
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hope against it and as much as i think we will be up to real crisis when it hits, if we have time, the likely scenario is that we will continue on, we will not come together on anything meaningful in terms of doing anything about our debt, we will continue to be at the mercy of foreign bondholders, we will continue to be at the mercy of the ratings agencies. we will lose not only s&p, we will lose the rest of them. something will happen. europe may get its act together, which means we are no longer the one eyed man in the land of the blind. or maybe we will get our act together a better in some other ways. the economy comes up a little bit. either scenario will result in higher interest rates, right? historical low interest rates -- the government is paying about half of the interest they
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normally have to pay. if we go to historical norms in terms of interest rates, it will wipe out everything we are talking about. then the only thing that is left is raising interest rates in order to control the inflation that by that time would be occurring, and then there'll be a devaluation. that is the likely scenario. >> i would like to come down into the audience and bring you into the conversation. >> i actually know how this ends. [laughter] >> i cannot wait. tell us all. >> if this is like any other challenge in american history, we will talk about this, we will work on a proposal, and then something will happen that we are not thinking about now.
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the birmingham bombings, the sputnik launch, the cuban missile crisis -- that was the most dangerous time the country has been through. the environmental emergencies of the late 1960's. something like that will happen. in the previous 20 years of talking about these things will be a prelude to a fairly quickly making a deal. that is how this will end. >> you are fundamentally an optimist. your recent cover story -- america rebounds. i want to ask you all to vote on one last question. the question we started with, because we are interested as to whether it your opinions changed a little bit as a result of this conversation here tonight.
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for those of you who are online and watch it on c-span, we ask the question we started with. if a national crisis our roads, how confident are you that the president and congress could agree on a pro at the plan of action? maybe even a big deal. i want to call on one of our special guests in the audience. frank is the co-chair of the presidential commission on debates. >> of want to thank you for the opportunity. i want to ask you, your whole career, you have been in politics or near politics. your mission has been to get this kind of conversation, debate, in front of the american people. what is the moral from tonight's story?
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>> i think bipartisanship does exist in congress. when they were arguing about what they were going to do to help the cities, they all gathered together, republicans and democrats, to do what was necessary to help their local state. you saw it with sandy. you had republicans and democrats in new york, new jersey, and connecticut, joining together. i am originally from nevada. for 30 years, republicans and democrats in nevada have said they don't want nuclear waste buried in nevada. anything that touches the local state touches the constituents, and touches the people who are going to vote for them. when we get to national issues, however, it is different situation. the number out of 233 republicans and house, only 16 of them were elected from districts carried by president obama.
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of the 200 democrats, only eight or nine were elected from districts carried by governor romney. that means the greatest danger to these republicans and democrats is in the primaries. what happens if you or a member of congress, you are great concern is to protect yourself in those primaries from people coming at you from the left and right. congresswoman edwards touched on it. there is only one way around this. it takes leadership to provide cover in politics, to get people the courage to stand up and do what is right. how do you get there? members of congress -- i have been in this town for 30 years. they don't know each other anymore. they don't spend any time with each other.
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the reason that lbj was able to get the civil rights act passed, it was the republicans in the senate that passed it. tip o'neill beat the hell out of the president all week long. i think we ought to pass a law paying for only one trip home of month by members of congress. the most dangerous place in this town is on a thursday night at reagan international airport, where you get trampled by members of congress running for the plane. there has to be some way, if we bring them back together, the leaders in both houses of both parties have to lead. they have to get some backbone to stand up and solve these problems. that is the only way it is going to happen. [applause]
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>> the president of the student body of gw, where did he go? guess what, you are next. >> this story in many ways is about you. this is the debt you will inherit. this is the social security that you will or will not get. >> i have always been interested in how policy makers can come together with different ideologies and sit down and have honest talks. when the news cameras are off, you don't have to appeal to the high energy members of your party. when the cameras are off is when you get to sit down and get to business and get the work done. >> what are you studying? >> political science. >> what do you want to do? >> be a politician. [laughter]
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>> how you feel after tonight? >> it's going to be a very long journey. [laughter] >> we wish you luck. the last comment tonight from the bipartisan policy center. your thoughts? tell us what you thought and what your conclusion is. >> a couple of reflections. it is great to have this kind of fusion cabinet discussion with multiple layers of government, supporters and political commentators. that does not happen all whole lot. two things occurred to me. the mayor made a great point about how messy this is. the idea of the public getting comfortable with that messiness is going to be another part of the political cover.
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to have the opportunity to make the uncomfortable agreements that will be necessary. it was not really just a partisan question. the local, state, and federal government positions are critical for this debate. i thought it was terrific how much we've focused on the business community. you were in a tough position, shutting down most factories. the larger question about the role of business in social policy and governing, particularly as congress becomes less and less functional. trying to understand that is a large challenge for all of us. >> from the before and after, whether it made us more or less
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optimistic. interestingly, people are more optimistic after hearing this conversation. [applause] are you surprised by that? >> no, actually, i am not. i think it is human nature that if you are not talking with somebody face-to-face, it is easier to caricature them, vilify them, say they do not get it. it is lot harder -- maybe she still thinks i am a cutthroat, but the point is solving problems takes people working together. that is in it. that is kind of basic, but that's what it takes. i think what people may be solved is folks with very different backgrounds and points of view talking together
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and trying to solve the problem that is really tough. >> i would like to thank all of you for what i think has been a very honest and a very interesting and informative conversation, for us to get a sense of what the dynamic is. you need leadership. what you believe then and how you engage, and how the conversation might sound and private and what the impact might be in public. if i am not mistaken, you were with grover norquist. >> three or four months ago that was true. >> i am troubled by this idea of cover. i cannot wait for five people, the president and leadership in the house and senate, if we are not getting the job done, this is what americans do. you go over, around, through the proper channels, but i was told not to do this, because
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politically it would hurt -- to distance myself from the pledge. i made the decision in january and i said to my advisers, i cannot hold on to this and not act on this. they said, can you at least wait until the primaries? no, the people in the second district need to have a choice. i am convinced that if the american people have the right information, they will make good decisions. i am back for a second term. this gives me the greatest hope, because i told my republican friends that rather than have to -- it is pretty clear. i tell my democratic friends that expenses have to come down. the american people get this, and they are ready for leadership. i know we can do this.
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>> i cannot think of a better note to end this conversation on than that. i would like to ask you if you have not already, we tried to connect the fax to some context, because context matters. as you have seen here, you can have a healthy debate based on the facts, but if you don't start with the facts, the debate by itself is misinformed. thank you very much for joining us. thank you very much, panelists, for traveling here and being so generous with your time. thanks to c-span and to huffington post, and to all of you in the room, and thanks again to george washington university for making all of this possible. good night, and good luck. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> today it president obama pushed for changes to the nation's immigration laws. later, a discussion on c i interrogation techniques and the search for osama bin laden. >> on the next washington journal, and look at the newest push for immigration reform. former bush and ministration commerce secretary carlos gutierrez will be our guest. then new york times columnist discusses the economy and his new book. later, our sabah what on magazine series continues with robert draper -- our spotlight on magazine series continues with robert draper. while studying at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. -- live starting at 7:00 a.m.
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eastern on c-span. >> georgia o'keeffe was the first well-known woman artist. even well into her life in the 1970's, no one could match her fame. she became a feminist icon. i grew up under that influence. i first recognition of work was not as an art historian but as a budding feminist whose attention was drawn to these facts as paintings. i lived in colorado and people talked about this woman. it was the way she lived, the fact that from 1929 forward, she came to new mexico living apart from the husband. continue to do this for 20 years until her husband's death and she moved to new mexico full- time. she was famous so young and so famous so young. famous so young.

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Capitol Hill Hearings
CSPAN January 29, 2013 8:00pm-1:00am EST

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